John Kennedy has admitted Kristoffer Ajer could be the latest in a long line of players who improve and are sold for a profit at Celtic.
Ajer was again outstanding at home to Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership today, winning the man of the match award and plenty more plaudits on social media.
There’s a clamouring from fans for Celtic to throw the kitchen sink at a new contract for the Norwegian.
However, there’s a different reality brewing as the summer approaches.
Kennedy was asked about his future after the match. While he didn’t say anything with certainty, his comments did allude to the defender moving on.
As quoted by The Scotsman, he said: “I’ve no doubt that there will be interest in him. He’s still very young and he’s an international player. With his profile of speed, size, technique and ability – there’s going to be interest in him.
“When that comes it’ll be the club and Kris himself making that decision. It’s important for the club going forward to keep players like him. But it’s a two-way thing of the player having that commitment contractually as well.
“We’ve got boys here like [Scott] Brown and [Callum] McGregor who know the club inside out, enjoy being here and have an affiliation with Celtic. They’re happy here and content, they want to maximise the time they have.
“But other players as we’ve seen in the past, come in, do well for the club – but if it makes sense for the club from a business perspective and the player sees his future elsewhere, naturally things change. But that’s not just at Celtic, that’s at every club.”
Kennedy isn’t wrong to set the right Ajer expectations
The interim manager’s comments may not be what Celtic supporters want to hear, but he is at least setting the right expectations ahead of the transfer window.
Everyone knows that Ajer’s current contract with the club expires in 2022. If the club are going to cash in on him as an asset and keep the recruitment cycle running, they have to do business this summer.
It was reported last summer by Sky Sports that his agents had asked Celtic for a transfer valuation, indicating he is looking for a move away from Celtic Park.
Unless he signs a new long-term deal, which there’s no word of at the moment, then it’s highly doubtful we can look forward to him playing for Celtic next season.