As the sun sets on Celtic’s incredible treble-winning season, fans are beginning to consider what Neil Lennon’s side will look like in 2019/20.
The Hoops boss knows that in order to maintain the success that the club has seen in recent years he must have a good summer transfer window recruitment wise and further develop the young talent that Celtic already have available.
One of those young players is Kristoffer Ajer who, at just 21 years of age, is well on his way to becoming an absolutely vital member of Celtic’s starting eleven.
Ajer is already a regular for the Hoops of course but has mainly been called upon to play so many games this season due to injuries suffered by both Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic.
Having signed for Celtic as a midfielder, he was moved to centre-back by former manager Brendan Rodgers and over the last two years has slowly transformed from a player with obvious ability on the ball to one also capable of coping with the physical demands of being a central defender.
Even this season there has been visible improvement, shedding the perception that he is nervous and unconvincing at the back to emerge as a solid and robust defender after Lennon took charge in February.
Watch a tribute to Celtic’s late Lisbon Lion and greatest ever captain, Billy McNeill in the video below…
The one game that sticks out when it comes to Ajer’s Celtic career so far is the 2-1 win over Rangers at Celtic Park back in March. That was his coming of age moment as a Hoops player and it’s a match that gives supporters a glimpse into his future in the position.
He was a tireless leader that day, epitomising the passion it takes to be remembered as a Celtic icon. Putting his body in front of everything Rangers threw at the Bhoys, Ajer demonstrated that day that next season he must be a first-choice defender.
There are clear indications he can go on to become a defensive talisman for the club that it hasn’t seen since the days of a certain Virgil van Dijk.
There’s an element of overstatement to that comparison, certainly when it comes to van Dijk’s current ability, but Ajer is getting there and he is well placed to make next season a player-of-the-year calibre campaign.