By Wayne Veysey

5th Jun, 2020 | 7:00pm

Sources: Lennon tells friends first-team mainstay won't play for Celtic again

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.

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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.

He went public with his desire to quit – via his agent – and has also knocked back the club’s offers of a new contract.

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.

In other Celtic news, an ex-Scotland international has revealed he is hearing the Hoops are close to agreeing a Premier League transfer.