Why Everton signing Kristoffer Ajer would be a good move
Ajer, 22, spent most of his youth career at Raelingen FK and Lillestrom SK in his homeland of Norway. In 2014, he signed for another Norwegian outfit IK Start, where he made 61 appearances, scoring 14 goals.
Celtic signed him up in the summer of 2016 and the 22-year-old has grown into a key player for the Hoops in recent years. Till date, Ajer has made 129 appearances for the Scottish champions, scoring 5 goals and assisting 3 more.
Everton, meanwhile, have had a torrid 2019/20 campaign. A poor start to the season saw them mired in the relegation battle, leading to Marco Silva’s sacking in December. Things took a turn for the better under interim boss Duncan Ferguson and then under new permanent boss Carlo Ancelotti.
However, the Toffees’ form was on the downslide once again prior to the season suspension. As things stand, Everton are 12th in the Premier League table. Given how poor their performances have been over the course of the season, it is important for Ancelotti & co. to strengthen the squad this summer.
Everton’s defensive troubles
Defensively, Everton have been quite poor this term. The Merseysiders have let in 46 goals in the league – only five teams have conceded more than that this season, three of whom are in the relegation zone. It is an issue that needs to be addressed before next season.
The fact that Everton have just three centre-backs on the books has been a problem. There is a clear lack of depth in the ranks. Moreover, neither Yerry Mina nor Michael Keane has been consistent enough, with only Mason Holgate emerging with some credit for his performances this term. Hence, a new central defender should be a top priority for Everton in the transfer window.
And Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer would be a viable option for the Toffees to consider. The 22-year-old has already accrued plenty of experience despite his young age and has been a key member of a team that has dominated domestic football in Scotland.
Apart from his first season at Celtic Park, when he was involved with the U19s, Ajer has won the Scottish Premiership title in the last three campaigns, while has also won three league cups and two FA Cups. He featured 34 times in all competitions in 2017/18, made 45 appearances in 2018/19 scoring and assisting a goal each.
In the 2019/20 term, which was called off last week with Celtic getting named champions, he made 49 appearances, bagging four goals and creating two more. In his 28 Premiership seasons this season, Ajer has helped the Hoops secure 13 clean sheets.
These numbers show that Ajer’s career graph is on an upward curve and he is growing into a more important player at Celtic with every passing season.
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Everton have been poor defensively this season. Furthermore, with just three centre-backs on the books, it is imperative for the Toffees to add more depth and quality to the squad in that position. And Ajer would be a wise choice for the Merseysiders.
The 22-year-old has been a key member of Celtic’s recent success and would bring that winning mentality to the side. In addition, given his age, he can go on to become the leader of the Everton defence in a few years.