Newcastle United could transform their defence by signing Celtic powerhouse Kristoffer Ajer this summer.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that the Magpies are very much interested in signing the Norway international, and there has now been a major update on their pursuit of the centre-back.
The Northern Echo claim that Steve Bruce is keen to kick off his side’s summer business with a move for the 6 foot 6 giant, and that “with Newcastle having sent a series of scouting delegations to watch the Norwegian this season, the Magpies’ interest is currently understood to be at a much more advanced stage.”
The report adds that Ajer is set to leave Celtic in a mass exodus from the club, and the Hoops currently value him at around the £8m mark.
Speaking earlier this season, former Scotland boss Alex McLeish said: “I go back to that St Johnstone game, you see sometimes when it’s not going for Celtic and the game’s in its dying embers, and then all of a sudden you see Ajer striding up the pitch trying to inspire like Roy of the Rovers.
“Running from defence, augment the attack and then it leads to a goal – these are inspirational moments and he is an inspirational, influential player for Celtic. Like Virgil van Dijk, he came to Celtic and we all know what happened next.”
Ajer’s teammate and fellow centre-back partner Christopher Jullien hailed him as a “unique talent“, and it’s no surprise given his combination of size and elegance on the ball when he brings it out from the back.
That kind of ball-playing ability, combined with someone like Jamaal Lascelles could form the basis of a really strong spine at St James’ Park.
The duo’s different strengths could compliment each other, with Lascelles’ no-nonsense approach to defending – he made the fourth-most clearances and third-most blocks for Newcastle – fitting in well with Ajer’s more measured style.
With Ajer also standing at an imposing 6 foot 6, the Magpies would have a couple of towering units at the back, that will leave opposition strikers thinking twice about trying to bully either of them.
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