Signing Kristoffer Ajer would have been a risk for Newcastle United, says the club’s former defender, Steve Howey.
Ajer was thought to be Steve Bruce’s top defensive target this summer, but the Newcastle boss will now have to look elsewhere following Brentford’s £13.5m deal with Celtic for the central defender (per The Northern Echo).
Last season, the Magpies had one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League. In their 38 games, they conceded 62 goals, one less than bottom-placed side Sheffield United (via WhoScored).
Did you want Ajer?
Bearing that in mind, losing out on a defensive target like Ajer will come as a huge blow to Bruce.
From Howey’s perspective, though, with the Norway international coming from the Scottish Premiership, he would have been a huge risk for Newcastle.
“He’s a big, strong boy, but will he be able to cope with the Premier League?” Howey said in an exclusive interview with TT. “I don’t know. It’s kind of a risk.
“Could Newcastle afford to pay that for somebody who’s not tested in the Premier League? He might be a signing where he comes down and he’s absolutely amazing and it’s just like wow, unbelievable money spent.
“But again, they can’t afford to have somebody that maybe starts the season and all of a sudden needs a transitional period. You can’t allow players to bed in, certainly Newcastle can’t. They can’t carry that.”
With the Scottish Premiership obviously not being the strongest division in European football, it is easy to see why some would have their doubts about recruiting from there, though Bruce did seem to be convinced by Ajer.
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