Reports claim Newcastle United have ramped up their interest in Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer and sent scouts to watch him during Sunday’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox.
The Magpies were initially linked with the 23-year-old back in March. And words from Norway manager Stale Solbakken appeared to give hope that he would be available this summer.
“He has to change league now,” he said back in March. “He must. Ajer does not have enough challenges in everyday life there.”
The towering centre-half certainly had many challenges at the weekend as the Hoops went down 4-1 to Rangers. It left Celtic 23 points adrift of the Gers who are still on track to complete an unbeaten Scottish Premiership season.
With Steve Bruce’s scouts in attendance, according to SunSport, Ajer would have hoped to impress. But he blotted his copybook when defending Rangers second goal, according to former Rangers star Kris Boyd.
“It is a fantastic strike, Celtic fail to stop the cross to start with, they then clear it but don’t move,” he said. “Alfredo Morelos finds himself one on one with Scott Brown, gets the break of the ball, but what a fantastic strike.
“When you look at it again when he cuts inside – Kristoffer Ajer, why is he ducking out the road?”
Nevertheless, it seems as though Bruce is still keen on the former Kilmarnock loan star. And his contract situation is another plus for the Tynesiders.
The Scandinavian will be out of contract at the end of next season and his price reflects that status. Newcastle were said to be readying an £8m bid back in March.
There has been no word on whether that will be enough to get a deal over the line. But other clubs may well enter the picture to drive up his value in the off-season.
Premier League new boys have eyes on Ajar
Norwich City have gained promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking. And Daniel Farke is said to be a fan of the stopper.
The man capped 21 times by Norway will have a decision to make but a Celtic Park exit does seem likely. Tottenham were also thought to hold an interest last summer when he was valued at around £20m.
But that was while Jose Mourinho was in charge of the north Londoners. And there was even talk that he could fetch between £30m – £50m.
That seems unlikely in the current financial climate and he is affordable for the north-east outfit.