Danny Mills has suggested Kristoffer Ajer’s agent could be the reason the Norway manager publicly encouraged him to leave Celtic.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England and Manchester City full-back claimed it was “a clever tactic” to deflect any potential criticism from the defender.
Stale Solbakken told Norweigan publication VG, as relayed by The Scotsman: “He has to change league now. He must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life there.”
Ajer has long been linked with a move away from Parkhead and Football Insider revealed last summer he was one of a number of Celtic players keen to quit Glasgow.
The Daily Mail report Premier League side Newcastle United are weighing up an £8million bid for the 22-year-old, who will enter the final year of his Celtic contract next season.
Asked for his assessment of Solbakken’s comments, Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “It certainly doesn’t help.
“Also, who’s the agent involved? What are they doing? Are they behind it? Trying to create one or two issues and make it out like it’s not the player.
“Sometimes it’s quite a clever way of deflecting and using other people to get your message across and get it out there.
“Then you can turn around and say ‘It wasn’t me, I didn’t say it.’ It can be quite a clever tactic at times.”
Celtic have offered a disastrous defence of their Scottish Premiership title this season but Ajer insists it has been his “best season” for the Hoops.
He told the Daily Record: “At least that is the year I have developed the most. Where I feel I have taken the biggest step is that I make wiser choices defensively.”