Parkhead could witness not only a major upheaval of Celtic’s playing squad this summer, but also of the coaching staff and boardroom.
Fergal Harkin has been linked with taking on the brand new director of football role while they are, of course, searching for a new manager.
Ajer’s contract expires in the summer of 2022 and thus, if he isn’t going to sign a new deal, this could be the time to cash in.
Indeed, concerns over his future have now grown larger. The defender is currently on international duty with Norway where his manager Stale Solbakken urged him to quit Parkhead.
As reported by Norwegian outlet VG, Solbakken said: “Kristoffer has to change the league now, he must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life. Therefore, I think he has got some habits, which you do not notice until he meets better opposition at international level or Europe.
“So, I think it would be a smart move for him. Kristoffer should go to one of the five major leagues. He will do that. He has the qualities to play in those leagues and I am calm about that.”
Norway’s assistant manager Brede Hangeland added something even more worrying: “If you are going to have development over a long period of time, you must be challenged as often as possible. I’ve told him this on the phone a couple of times. In some matches he plays in Scotland, he looks like a senior who plays at junior level. It’s of course because he’s good, and this is not criticism of the Scottish league.”
Hangeland’s words are incredibly startling; essentially suggesting that when Ajer plays, he makes the rest of the league look like a bunch of schoolboys.
The 22-year-old has developed immensely during his stay at Paradise but news that those close to him are urging the defender to leave is not good news.
Dermot Desmond is currently one of the busiest shareholders in football, trying to find a new manager for Celtic and having to withstand copious amounts of pressure from the supporters.
Only this week he was questioned about his role in Glasgow, but he issued a valiant cry; he will not sell his shares.
His job could get even harder if Celtic give in and sell Ajer, though. After all, he is often the glue that holds this team together.
The Hoops have been awful from a defensive point of view this term, conceding 14 more goals than Rangers in the Premiership. Without their imperious Norwegian, that tally would definitely be worse.
Speaking earlier this term, John Hartson said: “He’s grabbing the bull by the horns and he’s almost dragging the team through, even to these draws.”
“He’s a credit to the rest of the players. They should all look at him and if they’d all adopted the same attitude as Ajer then might have made a better fist of it in terms of holding on to the title.”
To lose him, therefore, would be a colossal blow to Celtic’s ambitions of regaining the SPFL title next term. He is vitally important.