Newcastle are reportedly preparing to launch an £8million bid to sign Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, who has been told he must quit the Scottish Premiership giants ‘now’.
The Norway international has one year remaining on his current contract at Celtic Park and has been urged to move on this summer by national team manager Stale Solbakken. With his contract running down, the Bhoys may have no option but to cash in.
The 22-year-old will be free to talk to clubs outside of Scotland about a free transfer come next January. That has seemingly weakened Celtic’s hand and means he is available for a cut-price fee.
The Glasgow outfit have a similar dilemma with star striker Odsonne Edouard, who is also out of contract in 2022. The forward looks certain to leave this summer, with Liverpool even lining up a potential swap deal.
As for Ajer, the centre-back has already set his sights on a move to England, although Serie A clubs are also keen.
Speaking recently, his national team boss Solbakken, insisted it was time for Ajer to move on.
He said: “He has to change league now. He must. Ajer does not have enough challenges in everyday life there.”
Norway assistant and former Fulham defender Brede Hangeland echoed those comments. He is said to have called Ajer several times to convince him to challenge himself in a tougher environment.
Keith Gillespie: Fulham could catch Newcastle
Keith Gillespie warns that Fulham now look like they could catch Newcastle in the Premier League table.
As for Newcastle, they have been monitoring the towering defender for some time and will make their move if they stay in the Premier League.
However, that remains a ‘big if’ at this stage, with the Magpies currently only two points above the drop zone.
Regarding the fee, Newcastle believe the player’s contract situation merits an offer of just £8m. Celtic, meanwhile, value Ajer closer £35m.
Such a disparity is likely to cause many issues going forward, if Celtic do decide to cash in.
Super League is back – can you build a winning team on this all new Fantasy Rugby League game?
Almiron hints at Newcastle exit
Newcastle United midfielder Miguel Almiron has cast further doubt on his future with the club after a derogatory comment towards his team-mates.
Almiron, 27, has been at St James’ Park since January 2019. But it seems as though his days on Tyneside may be numbered. Questions over his future have already been raised after comments from his agent. Daniel Campos hinted earlier this season that the Paraguay international is ready to quit the north-east outfit.
He told a Paraguayan radio station that only the pandemic has kept him with the Magpies, with a summer exit likely. His representative claimed that ‘big English clubs’, along with Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan were keen.
It’s open to debate as to whether that is true but an exit does appear a likely course of action. In February he spoke about his ambitions to play for Argentinian club River Plate, saying it was one of his “dreams”.
But the former Atlanta United ace has always stated that he is ‘happy’ at Newcastle. However his latest words may cause fans to doubt whether that is true.
“I would like to play in a team that fights more,” he told Paraguayan radio station ABC Cardinal (as per The Chronicle) on Friday.