Reports in Germany indicate that Bayer Leverkusen are preparing a second raid on Celtic this year with a €15M bid for Kristoffer Ajer. The Norwegian defender made his position very clear on Friday stating that he has a long standing agreement with the club, dating back to last summer and confirmed in January, that he would be allowed to leave in this summer window.
Ajer is eyeing a move to a club in one of Europe’s big five leagues and Leverkusen certainly fits the bill. The Germans made Celtic an offer that could simply not be rejected for Jeremie Frimpong back in January and they have been well pleased with the former Manchester City development player since the move.
Leverkusen paid around €11,5M for Frimpong and value Ajer at around the same price. However they are mindful of the interest from England – with both Newcastle and Norwich City having formally contacted Celtic about the Norwegian defender, Leverkusen are preparing to go in with a €15M bid to get their man.
The Report on the highly credible Kicker website is translated below.
Defensive giant from Glasgow candidate in Leverkusen…
Bayer has an eye on Celtic’s Ajer
The Norwegian has developed from reserve player to regular and Norwegian national player (23 appearances) in Scotland within five years. Kristoffer Ajer is currently in training camp with the Norwegian national team. There the central defender declared his intention to change for the current summer transfer window.
“It is clear that something will happen this summer,” said the defender, adding, referring to his contract term: “This is best for both sides.” Ajer’s contract with Celtic expires in the summer of 2022. The Scots can probably only achieve a larger transfer fee for the professional this summer.
15 million euros transfer fee
Bayer 04 are dealing with the right foot, but Newcastle United from the financially strong Premier League is also showing interest. In addition, Premier League promoted Norwich City should vie for Ajer. Already in winter it was said that AC Milan had tried to create the 1.96 meter high defensive dune. The ideas of the Scots should be about 15 million euros transfer fee.
For comparison: In the traditionally more expensive winter transfer window, Leverkusen Celtic quickly won over the right wing player Jeremie Frimpong (20), who was valued at a similar market value as Ajer today, with a transfer fee of eleven million euros. However, with not so many competitors willing to pay.
Ajer keeps a low profile
Ajer is on Leverkusen’s list of candidates. Concrete negotiations are not supposed to take place yet. The player himself keeps a low profile and explains: “There are a lot of rumors, but as of now it’s just rumors.” But he clearly defines his goal: one of the five top European leagues.
A strong defender
In any case, the Scandinavian’s profile is extremely interesting: Ajer is actually a trained (defensive) midfielder who was retrained to become a central defender at Celtic. Accordingly, the opening of the game with good diagonal balls and energetic runs with the ball at the foot is an outstanding quality of the strong defender. Despite his size, Ajer, who is compared in Scotland with ex-Celtic professional Virgil van Dijk (29, Liverpool FC), is considered agile and not slow.
With Ajer set to leave, fellow Norwegian Moi Elyounoussi unlikely to return to Celtic and talisman Odsonne Edouard about to be re-united with Brendan Rodgers down at Leicester City, the clear-out at Celtic is clearly gaining some momentum.