Saturday, December 3, 2022

Celtic Eyeing Serbian Defender As Potential Replacement For Ajer: Should Lennon Get This Done?

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Nikhil Vinodh
Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.

According to a recent report by Belgian source Le Soir, Premiership giants Celtic have been linked with a possible move for the services of Waasland-Beveren defender Aleksandar Vukotic in the summer. The report suggests that the colossal defender is expected to depart the Belgian club this season, with Scottish side Celtic, as well as Belgian side Mechelen both keen on the defender’s signature. The Serbian’s current tenure with the Jupiler League side extends for another three years though.

With Celtic interested in Aleksandar Vukotic, the onus is now on Lennon to get this done at the earliest. The report claims though that Mechelen have produced the most solid offer for the 24-year-old’s services so far. However Scottish side Celtic are also after him in the summer. The report further clarifies that the Celts are resigned to now losing their star defender – Kristoffer Ajer, to Leicester City in the upcoming transfer window. This means that Neil Lennon could be targeting the Serb as an alternative to Ajer, especially because Vukotic is the tallest player in the Belgian league.

What Has Kristoffer Ajer Done At Celtic Park?

The Norwegian centre-half has been a vital member of the Parkhead squad ever since he joined from Start back in the summer of 2016, barring the stint he spent on loan at Kilmarnock. The defender’s most significant achievement is undoubtedly the fact that he was able to quickly nail down a place as one of Neil Lennon’s first-choice defenders. While his stature did help towards the cause, it must be conceded that the big man’s 129 appearances for the Celts have been well appreciated by the fans. A record of just 19 yellow cards from his time at Celtic further highlights the sheer level of Ajer’s defensive acumen.

What Would Vukotic Add To This Celtic Team Next Season?

The Serbian defender has been around the Belgian footballing scene for a couple of years now and has thoroughly impressed with his displays at the back. Taller than Ajer by quite a bit, Vukotic could quite simply prove to be an upgrade on the Norwegian with time, as he even has a couple of more years of experience in the big time.

Celtic Interested In Aleksandar Vukotic - Vukotic looks on during a match
Waasland-Beveren’s Aleksandar Vukotic looks dejected during a soccer match between Royal Excel Mouscron and Waasland-Beveren, Saturday 07 March 2020 in Mouscron, on day 29 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ Belgian soccer championship season 2019-2020. (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

While getting used to the Scottish Premiership could be a challenge, his physical prowess is sure to make things easier. The Beveren man played in 27 Jupiter League fixtures this season and even managed to find the back of the opposition’s net on a couple of occasions.

The 24-year-old is more than two meters tall, which means that he’s effectively guaranteed to win most aerial balls that are played into the box. Adept at dealing with crosses from wide areas or set-piece situations, Vukotic’s defensive awareness is a commendable attribute in his play too.

Capable of identifying the next pass and making crucial interceptions, the tall defender could fit in well at Parkhead. Add in the fact that he tends to be a force while going in the opposite direction as well, and this begins to look like a favourable move for the Hoops.

Celtic Interested In Aleksandar Vukotic: Should Lennon Make A Move This Summer?

Losing a defender of Ajer’s quality and reputation would undoubtedly have a dire effect on the Celts’ back-line, but thinking about the transfer fee that he would bring in may ease some of the pressure off Neil Lennon’s shoulders. Using just a section of that financial gain would be enough to bring Vukotic in, and at 24, there’s no denying that the Serbian giant’s best days are still ahead of him. Similar to each other in playing style as well as physical stature, this move is a no-brainer for the Parkhead side, and Lennon will do well to get it done at the earliest possible opportunity.

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