By Wayne Veysey
Celtic have opened preliminary talks with Kristoffer Ajer over a new contract as they look to tie him down to a £1.3million-a-year deal, Football Insider has learned.
The giant centre-back, 21, has established himself as a first choice at Parkhead after developing impressively over the last 12 months.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider that the club are ready to offer Ajer a much-improved contract worth £25,000-a-week that will lift him into their top bracket of earners.
The Norway international signed a new four-year deal last year that runs until the summer of 2022, but Hoops chiefs recognise he deserves recognition for his status as a key first-team player.
Ajer attracted interest from clubs across Europe during the summer window, with Serie A giants AC Milan among those linked with him.
He had subsequently made 13 appearances for Celtic this season, all of them starts, and accumulated 93 in total for the club he joined in January 2016.
Ajer was widely criticised by pundits and fans for the rash challenge that conceded a penalty in last night’s 1-1 Europa League draw at Rennes.
But Celtic have been delighted at how he has blossomed during Neil Lennon’s tenure as manager and his centre-back partnership with summer signing Christopher Jullien is developing impressively.