Confirmed: Celtic to seal January midfielder deal with English club
By Alex Stevens
Kristoffer Ajer has revealed he is set to seal a January loan move to an English Championship club.
The 18-year-old has made just one senior appearance this season and has been restricted to the club’s youth team while he gains more experience.
Ajer arrived at Celtic Park in the summer after signing a pre-contract under ex-manager Ronny Deila.
He was initially expected to compete for a central midfield spot but was down the pecking order for that position and Celtic have convinced him that his future lays as a defender.
The highly-rated Norwegian has been building up his strength to play as a centre-back, which is where he is set to perform for an English second-tier outfit.
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“My aim is to become the best defender in Norway – I feel like I have taken a huge step in the last six months,” said Ajer, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“I come into training an hour before everyone else to improve my physical strength and then I train with the first team.
“I have put on seven kilogrammes since I got here and I feel the training environment at Celtic is so important.
“The fact that I have converted to a defender means it will take more time for me to establish myself.
“Brendan Rodgers has told me he strongly believes in me for that position.
“But I need to play at the highest possible level and presumably, I will be loaned out in January.
“It will probably be the second tier in English football, but the main thing is to get playing time.
“It was hard for me at first in Scotland, but I have settled in now.”
Ajer previously impressed at Norwegian side IK Start and made 60 senior appearances for them, scoring 13 goals and supplying seven assists.
His current contract is set to expire in 2020 so he could be a player to look out for in the future.
Celtic secured a 14th consecutive Scottish Premiership win on Wednesday night when they beat Ross County 2-0 at Parkhead.
Rodgers’ side, who have now gone 23 domestic games unbeaten, are a remarkable 16 points clear of second-placed Rangers.
In other Celtic transfer news, their playmaker could be the latest player to transfer between the club and a Premier League elite side.