Newcastle's reported budget should lead to firm Celtic message on Kris Ajer
With Newcastle United seemingly keen on Celtic star Kris Ajer, they need to understand that he can’t be plucked for a seven-figure sum.
The Daily Mail reported over the weekend that Newcastle were advancing their plans to sign the Norwegian this summer. However, the figure quotes was £8million. £8m for a player with heavy international and European experience. £8m for a quadruple-treble winner who has all of the tools to become one of the best defenders going.
However, it’s not that Newcastle are trying to lowball Celtic of course. Instead, it appears to be all they can afford at the moment and that they’re just chancing their arm. That’s after the Daily Mail claimed that the Toon only have £12m to spend this summer.
Manager Steve Bruce will also have funds from any players he can sell this summer. But in terms of their base figure to start off with, £12m appears to be all they have to play with. Relatively paltry for an English Premier League club. It’s not difficult to see why the Newcastle fans have such a strained relationship with owner Mike Ashley.
This could require Newcastle to sell star-man Allan Saint-Maximin. But the Mail reports that they’re currently pricing him out of a move by slapping a £70m price-tag on him.
Celtic would normally have Kris Ajer rated at £20m-plus
If Ajer was tied to Celtic for the next four years, he would easily be worth over £20m. Sure, he’s not universally adored amongst the Celtic support, but he’s more than good enough and done more than enough here to go for that kind of fee.
Unfortunately, with Kris being into the final year of his contract, that detracts from his value. However, not to such a large extent. Just because Celtic are looking to sell this summer, it doesn’t mean we’ll allow EPL clubs to steal talent for insulting fees.
£8m is exactly that. Celtic should inform Newcastle that, so long as their budget remains £12m, they’ll never have a chance of bagging Ajer. The Hoops can do better than what Bruce’s side is offering them. He’s been linked with the likes of AC Milan and Leicester in the past [Scottish Sun].
Ajer will go, that goes without saying. When we have the likes of his international manager telling him he needs to leave Scotland, that pretty much puts a dagger through any hopes of keeping him [Sunday Post]. He’s still easily a marketable asset who should be getting sold for £10m-plus.
Let’s see what Newcastle do indeed come in with of course. It could be the case that they manage to bag some more transfer cash from player sales and look to come in with a stronger offer.
But until they do, Celtic’s message should be loud and clear – Ajer isn’t for sale so long as the Toon’s budget remains the same.