There was a lot of talk about AC Milan making a move for Kristoffer Ajer in the summer, so we all knew that the rumours would come up again after the two teams were drawn together in the Europa League.
The Norwegian defender had a decent game last night despite Celtic’s defence being all over the place, and the reports from Italy seem to suggest that he didn’t harm his chances of earning a move in January.
Our colleagues at Sempre Milan cited a report from Corriere Della Sera which indicated that Milan were impressed by his performance last night, and they could make a move in January with the player being valued at €25m.
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From Celtic’s point of view it could seriously jeopardise their chances of achieving 10IAR if they let a key player go in January, so you do wonder if the board would sanction that sale during the season, especially if things are still tight in the league.
To get a better idea of how Ajer would fare in Italy The Celtic Star spoke to Sempre Milan to get their opinion on a potential move:
“Ajer held the back three/four/five together at times during Milan’s 3-1 win. The confusion regarding Lennon’s set-up cannot be easy for him and the rest of the players to deal with, but despite being just 22 you can see that Ajer is the vocal leader of that defence.”
“Having also seen some previous Celtic games, it would be fair to describe Ajer is strong physically and especially aerially, however he can sometimes be accused of almost trying to do a bit too much by jumping into challenges or showing lapses in judgement. He is young and will learn, and perhaps he will simplify and raise his overall game if part of a better and more well-drilled side – with all due respect.”
“As for whether he will be a good fit for Milan, it would really be a big gamble. I see bits of Ajer where I think he could be moulded into a player like (and mentored by) Simon Kjaer, who has been a revelation since arriving. However reports of a €25m price tag, the fact he is more suited to a three-man defence and the idea of having to adapt to a completely new league means I would still rather go for options that offer more guarantees like Nikola Milenkovic.”
This probably ties in with what a lot of Celtic fans feel about Ajer – he’s clearly talented but he’s still young and can look raw at times, so they will feel he should stay at Celtic for a while longer instead of trying to force a big move too soon.
His future could depend on Celtic advancing through their Europa League group to ensure that Ajer is still able to compete on the biggest stage to further his development, but it will be interesting to see if the momentum continues to grow on this one if he does well in the return fixture too.