Kristoffer Ajer could depart Celtic this summer after reported interest from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
What’s the story?
According to the Glasgow Evening Times, the German side are keen to acquire the 23-year-old’s services over the coming months as they look to strengthen their first team squad following an underwhelming campaign.
The report added that Premier League duo Newcastle United and Norwich City are set to test Celtic’s resolve for Ajer as the race for the youngster’s signature intensifies.
Fans will be fuming
The Hoops have been without a permanent manager since Neil Lennon resigned from the role back in February.
Several big names have been linked with the vacancy, including Rafael Benitez and Roberto Martinez, but former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe came the closest to securing the role before talks broke down.
A surprise candidate in former Australia national team manager and current Yokohama boss Ange Postecoglou has since emerged, with the 55-year-old potentially being announced as the new Hoops boss in the next few days, but he could be set for a big blow before he’s even stepped foot in Parkhead.
Ajer has become a pivotal part of the Celtic team in recent years, making 176 appearances for the Bhoys as he collected eight major trophies during his time at the club. However, his time with the former champions looks set to come to an end in the summer.
The Celtic hierarchy made many controversial decisions last summer, deciding not to sell or renew the contracts of Ajer, Odsonne Edouard or Ryan Christie despite the trio’s deals ending in 2022. It now leaves the club in a very weak bargaining position, with their market value significantly reduced as they are set to become free agents in just 12 months’ time.
In reality, Celtic may have no choice but to sell the Norway international amid interest from several parties, but sanctioning the centre-back’s sale before a new manager is installed in the dugout may prove to be particularly contentious.
If Postecoglou is appointed as Lennon’s successor, then his task of overhauling a 25-point deficit to Rangers may just be that much harder without arguably his most imposing defender to call upon, which would likely leave Hoops fans furious.