Kristoffer Ajer closing in on £13.5m move to newly-promoted Premier League side Brentford… with Norwegian centre-back publicly declaring his wish to leave Celtic last month
- Kristoffer Ajer is believed to have reached an agreement with Brentford
- Reports in Norway say 23-year-old Celtic defender will now undergo a medical
- The Parkhead club rejected a £10m bid from Norwich earlier in the window
- His sale will provide a significant boost to funds available to Ange Postecoglou
Celtic are close to selling Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford in a £13.5million deal.
The newly-promoted English Premier League club have been in talks over Ajer in recent days, with an agreement now thought to have been reached.
Reports in his native Norway claim the 23-year-old centre-back is set to undergo a medical and that personal terms are also in place.
Celtic are close to selling centre-back Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford in a £13.5million deal
Reports in Norway suggest he is set to undergo a medical and personal terms are also in place
Ajer went public on his wish to leave Parkhead at the start of last month and had attracted interest from Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen.
Celtic rejected a £10m bid from Norwich but are now poised to bank a sizeable sum for a player in the final year of his contract.
If the transfer is concluded, it would provide a significant boost to the funds available to Ange Postecoglou’s squad rebuild this summer.
The Australian is on the brink of landing £4.2m defender Carl Starfelt from Rubin Kazan as Ajer’s replacement, having already secured Israeli winger Liel Abada in £3.4m move from Maccabi Petah Tikva.
The newly-promoted Premier League club have been in talks over Ajer in recent days
It is still unclear, however, whether Starfelt will be able to play a part in either leg of Celtic’s forthcoming Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland.
Right-back is another priority for Postecoglou and the Parkhead hierarchy have been in talks with French outfit Rennes over youngsters Sacha Boey and Brandon Soppy.
Selling Ajer would solve one of Celtic’s wantaway issues, but the future of Ryan Christie remains up in the air.
Linked with clubs in England and France, the Scotland international is also now attracting interest from Saudi Arabia.
Celtic rejected a £10m bid from Norwich but are now poised to bank a sizeable sum
It’s claimed champions Al-Hilal are set to offer Christie a huge contract in an attempt to persuade him to move to the Middle East as a replacement for Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco. Former Sporting Lisbon and Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim took over at the Riyadh club last month.
Meanwhile, Callum McGregor hopes he can help steer Celtic’s youngsters through next Tuesday night’s first leg against Midtjylland if the club’s selection issues persist.
Winger Mikey Johnston and midfielder Ismaila Soro both appeared to suffer hamstring issues during their goalless friendly against Bristol City on Wednesday night after goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas sustained a finger injury during the warm-up.
Teenager Karamoko Dembele also went off after taking a heavy knock, with Celtic already missing Odsonne Edouard because of a thigh strain.
His sale would provide a significant boost to funds available to new boss Ange Postecoglou (L)
Christie and Tom Rogic were also absent, while James Forrest has missed the opening pre-season games after being identified as a close contact in a positive Covid case.
Postecoglou has only tomorrow’s game against Preston to fine-tune his depleted options ahead of the Midtjylland tie.
‘Pre-season is a difficult one,’ McGregor told Celtic TV. ‘You are trying to push players to the limit so they can tolerate that strain on the body and sometimes that’s just what happens, that’s football.
‘We need to try and deal with that and hopefully the boys settle. Soro hopefully will be all right, that just looks like a little bit of a tweak.’
The future of Ryan Christie (R) remains up in the air amid interest from Saudi Arabia
McGregor has been impressed by youngsters such as Dane Murray, Ewan Henderson, Owen Moffat and Adam Montgomery during pre-season but knows they need assistance.
‘I have had brilliant guys before me — Charlie (Mulgrew), Broony (Scott Brown), all these experienced guys — that have helped me,’ said the 28-year-old.
‘So I try and pass that on as well.
‘Like we said in the changing room, the games come pretty quickly, so we have to get that togetherness, that real team spirit and work for each other, and you can see that coming together.’