Why Kristoffer Ajer would be a fantastic addition to Southampton
The report suggests that the Norwegian is looking for a move away from Celtic Park and the Glasgow outfit is willing to sell the youngster for £20m. However, the Saints would face competition as clubs like AC Milan, Liverpool, Sevilla, and Leicester City are also keen to secure his services.
Born in Norway, Ajer came through the ranks of Lillestrom’s youth system and joined IK Start in the summer of 2014. After making 61 appearances for the club and scoring an impressive 14 goals, he was signed by Celtic in the summer of 2016.
He was then sent on a loan spell to Kilmarnock as he initially struggled for game time with the Hoops. Since returning to Glasgow, he has established himself as a key figure under Neil Lennon and is one of the best young defenders in Europe. Ajer played a crucial role in Celtic’s last three league title-winning campaigns and also helped his side lift three Scottish League Cups.
At 22, he has already been capped 15 times by Norway and is one of the key players for his nation.
Ajer could be a future leader in Southampton’s defence
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men managed to finish the 2019/20 season on a high note despite hovering around the relegation zone for the majority of the campaign. However, one insignificant aspect of their game has been the lack of stability at the back. The Saints conceded 60 goals in 38 league games last term.
And it is clear that they are in desperate need of reinforcements at the back. Though they have signed Mohamed Salisu, they need to bring in young defenders with a view of the future. Jannik Vestergaard has fallen down the pecking order, leaving the manager with just two established centre-back options in Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens.
Thus, a move for Ajer seems to be sensible. The youngster played a key role for Celtic last season as they conceded just 19 goals in the Scottish Premiership. He has been in terrific form and also has immense experience at a higher level despite his tender age.
His inclusion would definitely add depth to the Saints’ backline, whilst also bringing in healthy competition to the squad. And if he is able to continue with the fine form, he can go on to lead Southampton’s defence in the future. And, with experience, he should only get better.
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With Vestergaard out of form and limited options at the back, it would be wise if the Saints persuade a move for the Norway international this summer. He can provide them with some much-needed quality not only now but also in the future.