Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer Completes £13.5m Transfer to Premier League Newcomers Brentford; Carl Starfelt Announced as Replacement

Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has completed his medical at Brentford ahead of a £13.5m transfer. A deal has been finalised for the 23-year-old Norwegian with Celtic announcing the move moments ago.

The centre-back was in the last year of his contract at Parkhead and reports suggested that his mind was made up for a move away from the Scottish giants. According to The Athletic’s Kieran Devlin, Celtic rejected a bid for Kristoffer Ajer from the newly-promoted Premier League team Brentford earlier this month, which was reported to be £12m + £3m in add-ons.

Celtic were holding onto the defender until better bids were on the table with clubs like Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen also interested in the player’s services. However, Brentford’s most recent offer of £13.5m was finally accepted by the Celts and the deal is mostly done.

Celtic youngster Kristoffer Ajer
Image obtained via Daily Record

It was evident early on that Ajer would leave Celtic this summer, not having featured in the opening two friendly games over Sheffield United and Charlton. When asked upon about the offers from other clubs for his player, newly appointed boss Ange Postecoglou said at the time:

“To be honest I am not as focused on outgoing as I am on incoming.”

“Incoming is where my pure focus is at the moment. I can’t control who leaves, what I can control and push for is to bring people in.”

With 176 caps for the Hoops, he was a regular starter for the team with solid performances. Being young and able to perform under pressure, backed by his experience so far, made the youngster a hot prospect for clubs around Europe. Celtic were well aware of the situation and wanted to get a sizeable amount in the form of a transfer fee which would help them replace the young centre-back.

Ben Davies was seen as a key transfer target for Celtic in this transfer window to replace Ajer but Davies looks fixated to stay in the Premier League. Now, Celtic have brought in Swedish centre-back Carl Starfelt from Rubin Kazan to replace the outgoing defender, according to an official announcement.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said:

“I am really pleased agreement has been reached and we are really looking forward to Carl joining up with the squad. Carl is an experienced player and someone with the attributes to be a real success at Celtic.   
“He is a strong, athletic and committed defender and will add quality to our squad. I am sure he will be a player our supporters will welcome warmly and someone who will be really important for us going forward.”

Postecoglou wants more defensive reinforcements and therefore, Celtic are looking at Stade Rennais right-back Brandon Soppy while talks are also ongoing with Royal Antwerp for Aurelio Buta.

Letting Kristoffer Ajer leave for Brentford this summer is the correct decision for Celtic. Being in the last year of his contract, the Norwegian was free to negotiate a pre-contract in January that would have allowed him to leave for free the next summer. Surely, Celtic would not have wanted a young prospect to leave the club for free.

Moreover, the transfer fee received for the centre-back allows the Hoops to sign other players. To cash in on a player wanting to leave the club and invest in other key transfer targets ahead of a long season is the right step forward.

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