With news emerging that Newcastle United are no longer the front runners to sign Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, it could prove to be a good thing not signing the defender, with former Newcastle centre-back Steve Howey claiming that he may look to use the club as a stepping stone.
It was reported in The Athletic, that while the Magpies still had Ajer on their radar as a potential signing this summer, the club are now pursuing other targets, which has allowed Norwich City to swoop in ahead of Newcastle.
Will Newcastle regret not signing Ajer?
Ajer only has one year left on his contract at Celtic and has made it very clear that he sees his future outside of the Scottish Premiership, and with the Canaries having money to burn this summer after selling Emiliano Buendia, he may see a move to Carrow Road as a step up in his career.
Players will always be thinking about how they can get to the top of the game and play for the biggest clubs possible during their relatively short career and that is what Ajer may have been looking to use Newcastle for, which issomething Howey spoke exclusively to Transfer Tavern about:
“Ultimately, if the player thinks he can get a move to a bigger club then he has to perform because it’s no good throwing your toys out of the pram, because if you perform then you’ll get a move.
“So, if that’s a player’s goal and they want to use the club as a stepping stone but it means that they’re performing superbly well every week, then fair enough. That’s what players want and he probably wants to play at the highest level so you can’t criticise him for that, but ultimately you’ve got to perform week in week out to get those moves.”
Still just 23-years-old, Ajer would bring a wealth of experience having made 176 appearances for the Bhoys but he would also have a winner’s mentality with the high volume of silverware he has won north of the border.
It appears that there could be a reshuffle at the back this summer on Tyneside with both Florian Lejeune and Fabian Schar being tipped with exits and considering they’re Newcastle’s only two ball-playing centre backs it could be that Steve Bruce is opting for a more pragmatic approach to defending next season.
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