Celtic legend Roy Aitken has urged Kristoffer Ajer to continue his development at Celtic Park, amidst reports that clubs including Tottenham Hotspur are interested in snapping up the central defender.
Despite arriving in Scotland as a midfielder, the 22-year-old has evolved into a defender during his time in Glasgow.
He has been a rock at the back for the Scottish giants this season, dominating the forwards he has come up against and helping start attacks from deep by stepping out with the ball.
Aitken raved about the Norwegian international’s attributes and suggested that he has everything that a modern-day centre-half needs.
He told The Scottish Sun: “There’s so much there for him at Celtic in terms of learning the game. He’s a key part of Neil Lennon’s team.
“Since moving from midfield into the back four, he has started to learn the discipline of the position.
“His ability to carry the ball out from the back is an incredible asset. There is no question he has all the hallmarks of the modern centre-half.
“That ability to come forward and get an attack going is a real string to his bow, while his athleticism is very much in keeping with what is needed now in
modern football. He is an exciting talent.
“But at Celtic he has the chance to play European football and be at a club where there are demands and pressures on him every single week.
“You don’t get away with a poor game at Celtic. He is developing all the time.”
Sporten reported last month that Tottenham were considering a move for Ajer in the summer while AC Milan (Calcio Mercato) and Real Madrid (Mundo Deportivo) are also said to be interested in the defender.
However, Aitken believes that Celtic is the right club for the young defender to continue his development and urged Ajer to put off a move for the time being.
He added: “We can all appreciate the club’s business model and I’m sure the lad will have ambitions of going on to play in one of the top leagues.
“At 22, the most important thing for Ajer is that he needs to make sure he is playing every week.
“I don’t think anyone would stand in his way if there was an offer for him to go on and further his career.
“But at the same time there is no rush. He’ll know if he keeps doing what he is doing, he’ll have a fair few choices on the table.
“But playing at Celtic in front of 60,000 supporters, when that’s allowed again, will definitely prepare him if he wants to go on and put further demands on himself.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I am not surprised to see Ajer being linked with so many top clubs on the back of the season he has had for Celtic. However, I am not completely convinced that the Norwegian is good enough to make the step up.
While he is exceptional in stepping out with the ball from the back and dominant in 50-50 duels, he is certainly not the quickest or the sharpest over short distances. I suspect he might be found out in the Premier League given its pace and intensity.
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