Brentford confirm £13.5m deal for 23-year-old Norwegian – A good acquisition by Frank?


Brentford confirm Kristoffer Ajer signing from Celtic

A report by Sky Sports confirms that Brentford have beaten Norwich City to sign Celtic centre-back, Kristoffer Ajer, for an initial £13.5m transfer fee. The newly-promoted side could have to pay more for him due to performance-related bonuses added to his five-year contract at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Ajer was in the last year of his deal at Celtic Park after signing a four-year extension in 2018. The Norwegian defender initially joined the Glasgow-based side in 2016 from IK Start in his home country. The 23-year-old already has 23 caps for his national team. But is Ajer a signing that Thomas Frank needed? Let’s find out.

Kristoffer Ajer will give Brentford depth

Brentford don’t have a shortage of centre-backs, at least on paper. Pontus Jansson, Ethan Pinnock, and Mads Bech Sorensen are viable options in defence. But their captain, Jansson, will turn 31 by the end of this season and is on a contract that expires in the summer of 2022. The Bees, on top of that, cannot boast of quality cover in the defensive area.

Taking the step-up to the Premier League is not the easiest task in the world. Hence, it is questionable if Charle Goode and Luka Racic would make the cut when it comes to being regular first-team players this season. Goode, 25, was signed last year but made 7 starts all season. 22-year-old Racic took the step up to the senior side in 2019 but also has just 7 starts for Brentford in that time.

Julian Jeanvier did not seem like he was in Thomas Frank’s plans last season. The 29-year-old Guinean was loaned out to Turkish side Kasimpasa as Brentford made the push for Premier League promotion. Regardless of that, the former Stade de Reims man is anyway on a contract that expires within 12 months.

Considering all that, Ajer comes as a timely addition to Brentford’s backline. Frank also hinted at using a three-man backline in the near future. The Danish manager played three centre-backs towards the end of last season. If that is to be the case for him in the first division, then having depth in the backline becomes very important.

Kristoffer Ajer helped Celtic lift three Premiership titles.
Kristoffer Ajer helped Celtic lift three Premiership titles. (Getty Images)

Ajer is suited to Brentford’s style

That is the view of Frank Thomas himself. The manager gave a detailed explanation regarding why the club signed Ajer, mentioning the Norwegian’s ball-playing abilities and how he fits the bill at the West London-based side. (h/t The Athletic) [Subscription Required]

“We think he fits the position-specific profile perfectly, especially on the ball. Kris is very composed and can find the right passes between the lines. His level when bringing the ball forward is very high. As a defender he has the physicality that you need, and he won his duels when he played in the Scottish league. He can help us in both boxes, with his strength in the air.”

As we talked about above, playing in the Premier League is not the same as playing in the Championship. The first division naturally boasts of the best clubs in the country, and competing with them requires quality personnel, especially for a newly-promoted team like Brentford. That is probably a reason why Ajer was signed by the Bees, with Thomas stating that he comes in ‘ready’ to perform in the PL.

Kristoffer Ajer is now a Brentford player as he joins on a permanent transfer from Celtic.
Kristoffer Ajer (L) is now a Brentford player as he joins on a permanent transfer from Celtic. (Getty Images)

“He is a player at a good age, and we think he come straight in and be ready to perform in the Premier League. But he also fits the way we want to recruit players and work with them. He can develop as a player and both Brentford FC and Kris can move to a higher level in the coming years.”

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In conclusion, Brentford have made a good deal with regards to the former Celtic man. At 23, he can give his best years to Thomas’ side and can develop to be an even better player for his new side.