A Celtic centre-back with a height of more than six feet long having a breakout season and wanted by a top-five European league club. Sounds familiar? Well, this is not the only similarity that Kristoffer Ajer has in comparison with Liverpool talisman Virgil van Dijk. Now a Kristoffer Ajer Newcastle United move is reportedly a possibility, according to The Athletic.
Van Dijk made his move from Celtic to Southampton in late 2015, when he was a 23-year-old promising centre-back. Six years down the line and there is nothing that the Dutchman has not won at Anfield.
History looks likely to repeat itself. There is another standout Celtic central defender being chased by a Premier League club. The funny fact is that he is in his early twenties too. Kristoffer Ajer might just be the next big thing a few years down the line.
Ajer Newcastle United Move a Possibility
Newcastle in Need of Central Solidity
The Athletic UK understands that Premier League side Newcastle United are readying an £8 million bid for Ajer. It will be interesting to see if the deal materializes as Newcastle sit just two points above the relegation zone, and a possible demotion to the Championship might be on cards. Another interested party is a flattering one.
Serie A giants AC Milan might be potentially missing out on the title this season with rivals Inter having a mighty ten-point gap at the top. But it only means that there are chances for improvement in the red half of Milan. The Rossoneri are also another club that were previously nterested in securing the signature of Ajer, according to The Athletic. It is unknown, however, whether they’ll pursue the deal again this summer.
The Norwegian International still has a year left on his contract.
Is Kristoffer Ajer Ready for a Big Move?
At six feet, six inches tall, Ajer should ideally be one of the slower members in the Celtic camp. But it’s actually the opposite. Touted as the fastest sprinter in the team according to training witnesses, Ajer’s speed is one of his many strengths. His other strengths include his ability to read the game very well from an offensive point of view. His ball progression statistics as a centre-back are one of the best in the Scottish Premiership. Moreover, he is also an excellent passer and has a good vision for long balls for the pouncing forwards.
Defensively, Ajer does not read the play well. With a below-average defending impact, he has a tendency to over-commit to challenges. But with better coaching and experience, he has everything to become one of the best in his department in the years to come.
Though the Scottish first division might not be among the top seven European leagues, Ajer’s figures are as impressive as the likes of Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte in the Premier League, which is interesting.
Newcastle Move Would Make Sense for Ajer
From the looks of it, Newcastle seems the ideal destination for the young defender. Lacking experience and still unpolished, a big move to AC Milan could hamper his progress. Especially if he fails to match the expectations imposed.
On the other hand, if Newcastle manage to stay afloat in the Premier League, next season could be a great project that Ajer could be involved in. The expected Celtic Player of the Season could impress a lot of English clubs as well as European giants if he manages to give a different look to the Magpies’ back-line.
Would he be the next Van Dijk? Will he follow in the footsteps of the veteran Liverpool centre-back to the Premier League? Or will he take the challenge of the Italian Serie A? Kristoffer Ajer has some big decisions to make. That is unquestionable.
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