Report: Second Bundesliga side after Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer

By Euan Davidson

June 17, 2021

A report from Germany’s Fussball Transfers indicates RB Leipzig are keen on Norwegian Celtic star Kristoffer Ajer.

The report claims that Leipzig are looking to replace Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konaté. The high-quality centre-back duo have agreed deals with Bayern Munich [Sky Sports] and Liverpool [LFC] respectively. While Ajer is said to be in talks with Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen [Sky Sports], Leipzig are also keen to bolster their options.

The ball-playing centre-back endured a difficult 20-21, but did emerge with some personal credit. He made 46 appearances for the Bhoys in all competitions [Transfermarkt], next to a revolving cast of defenders.

The report suggests that while Maxence Lacroix of Wolfsburg is their main target, Ajer is on Leipzig’s list. Given that they’re a club who turn young, talented players into superstars on a pretty regular basis, it’s an interesting one. While Celtic aren’t so small-time that we should consider it a flattering statement on our transfer policy and player development, it’s not not a compliment either.

After a tough 20-21, Kristoffer Ajer expressed an interest in leaving the club. Not only that, Celtic have promised him a route out of Parkhead. At the start of June, he told Norwegian broadcaster TV2:

“The promise was that I would be allowed to leave last summer, but then we agreed that I would stay in the club because we would try to win ten in a row.

“It was important for the club, but unfortunately we did not make it. Now we have come to the point that I will leave the club, and I really expect the board to keep its word.”

The calibre of RB Leipzig’s previous defenders is a statement on the quality of Ajer

Not everyone likes Kristoffer Ajer, of course. His inability to defend set pieces, and occasional flinches from the ball, are deeply concerning. As a retrained midfielder, he perhaps lacks some defensive instincts. Strange as it sounds, he probably shines more when he has less to do, and Celtic are on the ball.

His roving runs into the middle are reminiscent of Virgil van Dijk, and he’s also capable of starting moves with incisive passes. Were he to improve on his defensive fundamentals, he’d be a top-class defender. And there are few better places to work on his game than in Leipzig.

Kristoffer Ajer scores against St Johnstone / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

While the monopolising of football is a genuine worry, with Red Bull a chief offender in that, the network does boast excellent scouting and player development. If Kristoffer Ajer is being looked at as a potential Leipzig player, it bodes well for him. Rawer talents, much like Upamecano and Konaté, have become high-quality, multi-million euro players.

It’d be a good move for Ajer, a player who wants to leave Celtic. If there’s truth to the reporting, it’s no doubt a better option than Norwich City or Bayer Leverkusen.

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