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Celtic: Martinez could influence Ajer’s future

With Neil Lennon finally gone, there is renewed positivity surrounding Celtic and their future heading into next season.

For the Parkhead faithful, this has been a diabolical campaign but fortunately, they’ve not had to be in the stadium to witness such terrible results. They are 15 points off the top and any chance of securing a tenth SPFL crown in a row is all but done.

John Kennedy has since been placed in interim charge of the Bhoys but Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell will surely look for more attractive suitors before the season is up.

He may have won his first game in charge over Aberdeen, but with some of the managers linked with the job, it would be quite something if he was handed the reins permanently.

One coach touted with taking on the vacancy is Roberto Martinez. The 47-year-old is currently in charge of Belgium so would be a surprising appointment, especially with the Euros on the horizon. That being said, it’s certainly not out of the picture.

Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Dean Windass said: “I think that would appeal to him, yes. I’ve worked with him and he’s a gentleman.

“Shaun Maloney’s there too (at Belgium). So that would be a good fit – that would be a very good fit.”

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Indeed, if Desmond can lure the Spaniard to Glasgow, it would be a thrilling appointment, one that could even rescue the future of one of their star men.

Kristoffer Ajer has continuously been linked with the exit door and with his deal expiring in 2022, leaving this summer may be a genuine option. Though, the arrival of a big-name coach in Martinez could sway him towards staying at Celtic.

That’s because of two things. One, the development of John Stones under Martinez at Everton, and two, the possession-based style of football that the Belgium manager likes to operate with.

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For Ajer, a ball-playing centre-half, playing under a manager who likes to keep the ball on the ground would be a dream.

The Norwegian has a habit of breaking through the lines from defence and picking out a teammate with ease. You only need to look at his pass success rate of 88.3% this term to understand how comfortable he is with the ball at his feet.

Leon Osman revealed the Everton side under Martinez would “live and die” for possession football and it was because of the Spaniard that Stones rose to prominence. Another ball-playing centre-back, he’s become a key component of Pep Guardiola’s great Manchester City side, keeping an incredible haul of 18 clean sheets in just 23 outings this term.

His playstyle, something that was developed by Martinez, is one of the primary reasons he’s now one of the most impressive centre-backs in the English Premier League.

Ajer could see this is a major plus point in terms of his development, certainly at the age of just 22. With that in mind, there’s no reason he couldn’t stay for a bit longer at Parkhead before earning an even bigger move in a few years time.

Martinez could be the manager to extract even more from him. The defender has to stay if the former Everton manager walks through the door.

AND in other news, “He’s a big name in the game” – Exclusive: Pundit shares why former PL manager could join Celtic…

Article title: Celtic: Martinez could influence Ajer’s future

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