Report: AC Milan no longer interested in Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer

By Euan Davidson

June 5, 2021

AC Milan have ended their interest in Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, according to Sky Sports.

The report claims that while Norwich and Newcastle United are supposedly interested, the Rossoneri have cooled on the Norwegian. Ajer had been heavily linked to a move to Celtic’s Europa League opponents. In November, reports claimed that Paolo Maldini had been watching him. Alongside Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic and Strasbourg’s Mohamed Simakan, Ajer was a valid choice for the Italian giants [Milan News 24].

However, since signing Fikayo Tomori on loan, the Chelsea man has impressed. Sky Sports suggest that the San Siro side are working on his buyout clause.

That isn’t to say that the 23-year-old will be short of options, however. While a move to the Premier League could yet materialise, he may opt to follow Jeremie Frimpong. On June 1st, reports emerged linking Kristoffer Ajer to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen [Glasgow Times].

While the lure and the cash incentives of the Premier League are obvious, he wouldn’t necessarily suit Norwich or Newcastle United. Ajer’s best abilities are seen with sides who dominate possession. Playing a high press, and moving the ball around the back to start attacks is the Norwegian’s strong suit.

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That kind of tactical approach may work at a club like Leverkusen. While Daniel Farke’s Norwich side have been easy on the eye, they’ll surely face a lot of crosses, and direct, pacy attackers in the Premier League, while ceding possession. That might be a problem for Kristoffer Ajer to get to grips with, initially.

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While AC Milan dropping their interest is a bit of a blow, it’s not like nobody’s after the Norwegian. Having featured regularly for his national team, and periodically impressed in Europe (perhaps not this season), he’ll have plenty of clubs after him.

It wouldn’t be a particular surprise if some more names emerge as potential destinations. Ajer has the raw talent and potential to be an excellent ball-playing centre-back, but he’s by no means the finished article quite yet. That’s fine; neither was Virgil van Dijk when he moved to Southampton, as good as he was for Celtic.

Kristoffer Ajer: plenty of interest / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic will need to be canny here. While Ajer is in the last year of his contract, it doesn’t mean the Bhoys need to accept the first offer. A significant sell-on fee could also be part of any negotiation, as per Moussa Dembele and Kieran Tierney.

While it’ll be disappointing to see him go, it’s probably the right time for all parties. If Ajer wants to move on, we can’t say he didn’t try his hardest for us.

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