Neil Lennon has told friends Celtic don’t expect Kristoffer Ajer to play for them again, Football Insider has learned.
The Hoops hierarchy believe they are fighting a losing battle in their hopes to stop the ambitious central defender, 22, to moving on this summer amid interest from elite Premier League and Serie A clubs.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider that manager Lennon is already making plans for reshaping his defence without a mainstay of his second spell in charge.
This site revealed last weekend that the Scottish champions are preparing to let Ajer go if their £20million asking price is met.
Even in a market in which transfer fees are set to tumble, Celtic believe that is a fair valuation for a 14-times Norway international with extensive club European experience and his best years ahead of him.
It would represent a huge profit for the Hoops on the giant defender, who signed in January 2016 for £550,000.
As for Ajer himself, he has made no attempts to hide his desire to move on to a club playing in a more high-level league.
Celtic have made a number of attempts to tie him to a new deal to replace his current agreement, which expires in 2022, but he has rejected them.
Ajer has continued to develop since Lennon took over and has established a strong centre-back partnership with Christopher Jullien.
The younger man has made 129 appearances for Celtic, including 49 this season as his side secured a ninth consecutive league title.