Kristoffer Ajer 18 Midfielder Celtic Norway
In 2015, at the age of 16/17 Kristoffer Ajer scored eight goals in 30 Norweigan Tippeligaen games. That’s pretty spectacular in of itself; but is even more startling when you consider that IK Start – Ajer’s team – only managed 35 goals in the entire campaign and finished the year just one point above the relegation zone. From there on he became a marked man having shown himself capable of producing performances at senior level, and not just a promising youngster.
Ajer has a lovely languid style to his game, well that’s the impression he gives. He is a tall, lean young man so it’s highly likely he actually has to work very hard and his limbs are simply taking their time about listening to his commands.
His feet are quick, his head is generally composed and so far he seems able to find pockets of space to fall into. There is a player in there. It just depends on how he adapts to a slightly different style of football, once he actually gets on the pitch for Celtic.
2016 has been…
There is no question that the last 12 months haven’t gone the way that Kristoffer will have hoped. After training with Celtic in January and then completing a deal to join them in February – with a summer arrival date – Ajer must have felt in a particularly weird position when Ronny Delia – the manager he had signed for – resigned from the club.
We assume the fact that a fellow Norwegian was in charge may have had some bearing on Ajer’s decision to join the Scottish Champions, and he’ll have been hoping for a little national favoritism in getting his chance in the first team.
Instead he has joined Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic and spent a lot of time getting to know the reserve set-up. He hasn’t had a proper go in the first team as yet and all we’ve got to work from is a reasonably satisfactory performance in a pre-season against Inter Milan.
First team football would be good, and that will almost certainly mean a loan away from Celtic for at least six months. Brendan Rodgers spoke recently about the importance of Ajer getting to know the club before being shipped out on loan. Though some of it was delivered in middle management quotes that only Brendan can sculpt, he has a point.
Ajer’s move to Scotland will have unsettling enough for a teenager without the need to pack him off loan within a few days of touching down. He’s had a few months to settle and done a decent job in the UEFA Youth League – though you can never truly trust age level football – so the next logical step is to arrange significant minutes for him.
If that isn’t going to be in the green and white hoops, we suspect there will be plenty of British sides eager to snaffle Ajer’s services for a few months.
D Not a problem all his own making, but needs to fix it himself
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