Reported top NUFC target Kristoffer Ajer has not featured in either of Celtic’s first two pre-season matches in Wales. On Wednesday, The Bhoys downed Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 in new manager Ange Postecoglou’s first match in charge.
Postecoglou fielded a young squad so Ajer’s exclusion wasn’t too eye-opening. However, in yesterday’s 2-1 win over Charlton, the Norwegian was again not in the squad. Even midfielder Olivier Ntcham, who is reportedly on the outs at Celtic Park, got a good run out and played well.
What this means is anyone’s guess. But it’s very clear that Celtic and Ajer are at odds over his desire to depart Parkhead this summer. The 23-year-old’s stance is crystal clear as he recently stated the following:
“The promise was that I would be allowed to leave last summer, but then we agreed that I would stay at the club to try to win 10 in a row.
“That was important for the club, but unfortunately we did not make it.
“Now we have come to the point that I will leave, and I really expect the club to keep its word.
“I hope it settles down as soon as possible. It will be in the best interests of all parties.
“I do not think this comes as a surprise to Celtic. They know what I want. In addition, I think it is important for them to sell me with a view to rebuilding the club.
“I think the club is grateful to be in a situation where they can get money for me.”
These comments arrived after a reported bid of £10m from Norwich was rejected. Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen also had a similar bid rebuffed by Celtic.
Norwich have since moved on to other targets as they will not offer more than £10m for the defender, who is in the final year of his contract. While Newcastle have yet to dip their toes in the water for Ajer, they were hoping to land him early this summer for around £6-8m.
So Newcastle may have caught on early that Celtic were not going to be willing participants in selling their defender for a bargain fee. If a report from The Daily Record is accurate, then it appears likely no club will land Ajer this summer.
According to the report, Brentford are the latest club to be turned away by Celtic. The newly-promoted Bees also tried to land Ajer with a bid of £10m which was rejected. The new claim is Celtic want double that amount for the 6’6″ center-back.
If Celtic hold firm on an asking price of £20m for their defender, they will end up losing him for nothing next summer. As for Newcastle, if Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers is available for £5m, then it seems like a no-brainer to try and bring him in.
Graeme Jones worked with Carter-Vickers at Bournemouth last season. He reportedly has given rave reviews on the 23-year-old. So we’ll see if there’s any movement on this front in the coming weeks.
The pressing business on this Sunday is the massive final at Wembley. Best of luck to England tonight!
Here are some interesting predictions from some of our Magpies on the England and Italy European Championship final. I especially like Joelinton’s comments as he mentions Graeme Jones.
??????? #EURO2020 ??
Predictions for this evening, lads? ? pic.twitter.com/zp096yR2cA
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 11, 2021