Celtic are not only having a tough time en route to conquering the historic ‘ten in a row’ Premiership glory amid Rangers’ resurgence but also finding it difficult to tie down Kristoffer Ajer in a long-term contract beyond summer 2022. The Norwegian, linked with an array of European hotshots, is exploring his options and the former Hoops centre-forward Harald Brattbakk has his opinion on the whole saga as revealed by the Daily Record.
The 22-year Norway international has drawn the attention of many for his versatility across the backline and proved his influence time and again irrespective of the Bhoys’ recent shambles at home as well as abroad. It’s been a turmoil stint for Brighton loanee Shane Duffy in the heart of the backline, but the presence of Ajer has been immense so far and is crucial going forward in order to regain the momentum. The champions must step up their game to retain the coveted crown and should fix the defensive frailty before it gets too late to recover.
“My heart says Ajer should stay at Celtic. In fact, my heart says every good player should stay at Celtic. But my head says if he wants to move on he should be able to. It’s also a question for the club if they see him as part of their future plans – or they want to get some money for him.”
Stated Brattbakk who has 20 goals under his belt in Celtic colours from December 1997 to January 2000.
While it would be scandalous to cash him in such an early age, the Hoops are left with little alternative unless the youngster decides to put pen to paper and commits his future at Parkhead. However, the interest from the likes of Atletico Madrid, Leicester City and AC Milan are too fascinating to turn down for a professional.
Having said that, Celtic must not let Ajer leave in January and should keep hold of him at least until the summer window even though an enticing offer is tabled from top European outfits. They are having persistent injury problems at the back (including the Norwegian’s groin strain ahead of the international break) and should look to strengthen in winter on top of the options available presently. But the Bhoys must prepare for life without the centre-half in the long run and find an able replacement as they have done with great expertise over the years.
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