Kristoffer Ajer “knows for a fact” elite clubs have been trying to prise him from Celtic amid speculation over his future.

That is according to ex-Scotland manager Alex McLeish, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the giant Norway international.

Ajer has had an indifferent start to the new campaign after playing an integral role in Celtic’s domination of Scottish football in recent years.

The centre-back, 22, has been targeted by Premier League and top Italian clubs this year and has rejected a number of attempts from the Glasgow giants to extend his contract expiring in 2022.

Asked about Ajer, McLeish told Football Insider: “He’s very consistent and he is a leader. You can see that in him.

“He can take a lot of confidence from the fact he’s been quoted as maybe moving to one or two of the big clubs in Europe so that gives a player a lot of motivation when you hear these things.

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“It’s not so much reading the papers, he knows for a fact these guys were in because he’d be kept up to the mark with his agents and stuff.

“A good, big player, they can’t all play fantastic every week. You’ve seen a couple of the goals recently that he could even have done better. Nobody’s perfect and you’ve just got to learn from it and make sure you get better and better from experience.”

Ajer was absent as Celtic remained on course for the quadruple treble by defeating Aberdeen 2-0 in last season’s postponed Scottish Cup semi-final played on Sunday.

He has made 16 appearances for the Hoops this season, including starts in 10 of their 11 SPL matches.

In other news, Celtic have been told how much it will cost to sign Diego Laxalt permanently.