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Celtic: Kristoffer Ajer attracting interest from his former manager

Celtic: Kristoffer Ajer attracting interest from his former manager

Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has been linked with a reunion with former manager Brendan Rodgers at Leicester.

Football Scotland reported that the Foxes are pursuing the 21-year-old Norway international as a replacement for Harry Maguire following the England centre-back’s move to Manchester United.

According to Football Scotland, AC Milan are also interested in Ajer but any team hoping to sign him from Celtic would need to pay a significant amount as Neil Lennon sees him as an integral first team presence.

Of the five centre-backs who played for Celtic last season, Ajer was the most used with 45 appearances and 3,470 minutes.

He has started four of Celtic’s five matches so far this campaign, missing only the second leg of the Champions League qualifying tie against Nomme Kalju, having scored against the Estonian side in the 5-0 first leg win at Celtic Park.

Ajer was loaned to Kilmarnock during his first season at Celtic in 2016/17 but has been a mainstay in the Hoops’ line-up in the last two years, with 83 appearances since the start of the 2017/18 campaign.

In his 23 Premiership matches last season prior to the April split, Celtic kept 16 clean sheets and conceded only 10 goals. In a nine-match league spell from August to December, Ajer conceded only twice and that was in the same game, a 2-0 defeat to Hibernian.

He played in all of Celtic’s five games after the split, when they kept a further three clean sheets and shipped just three goals. Altogether, the Hoops let in a mere 13 goals in 28 league matches (0.46 per game) with Ajer on the pitch. Without him, they conceded six goals in 10 games (0.6 per game).

Writing in The Herald, Neil Cameron described him as a defender who “wins high balls, can put a tackle in and loves breaking forward with the ball, head up, looking to make a pass”.

Ajer has also drawn praise from ex-Celtic defender Johan Mjallby, who said: “He caught my eye when he started to play. Now he’s got more experience and he’s probably maturing a lot as well. He’s got every chance of becoming a very good defender.” [via The Herald].

Having been the most frequently-deployed centre-back in a formidable Celtic defence last season, it’s not difficult to see why the club would demand a sizeable fee for Ajer.

Neil Lennon has a decent choice of centre-backs, with Christopher Jullien and Hatem Abd Elhamed (who can also play right-back) added to the squad this summer to join Ajer, Jozo Simunovic and Jack Hendry.

However, the Norway international has been the foremost of that bunch for Celtic and, if he were to be sold, the others would have a tough job on their hands to match the standards set by Ajer last season.

Celtic fans, should the club entertain any offers for Ajer or is he indispensable? Share your views with us by commenting below!

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Article title: Celtic: Kristoffer Ajer attracting interest from his former manager

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