‘He's a brilliant player’: Teammate hails ‘fantastic’ 23-cap Newcastle-linked titan
Celtic defender Stephen Welsh has hailed Kristoffer Ajer – via the Daily Mail – amid reports linking the defender with Newcastle United.
Welsh believes Ajer has the talent to thrive at the top of the game after playing alongside him at Parkhead. The pair turned out frequently alongside one another as the Hoops rounded out a difficult Premiership campaign.
But Welsh may return to Glasgow for next season without his towering 6 ft 5 titan of a teammate Ajer. Steve Bruce wants the Norwegian at Newcastle amid doubt in the futures of Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez (Northern Echo).
United are prepared to pay £6million to sign Ajer after tracking him for the last couple of seasons. However, the Toon face competition from Bayer Leverkusen, with the Bundesliga outfit in talks with Celtic (Sky Sports).
The Hoops also want to make around £16m by selling Norwich City target Ajer (Daily Record). Even though the centre-half will enter the final year of his contract next month.
Welsh seemingly believes that any side who meets Celtic’s demands will be spending their money wisely. As the Scotland U21 international has backed his domestic partner to reach the top of the game.
“Kris has been fantastic for the last four or five years,” Welsh said. “He’s been so good, especially when I came into the team. He has really helped me so much. Whatever happens, happens. But he’s a fantastic player and I’m sure he can play at the top level.
“Working together as a partnership, I thought we fitted in well together. He has done well. He’s a great character for the team day in, day out. He’s a bubbly guy. First and foremost, he’s a brilliant player and a good leader for the team.”
TBR’s view: Newcastle must step up Ajer transfer plans
Bruce wanted Newcastle to conclude talks with Celtic over a transfer for Ajer quickly in order to avoid missing out. He now risks seeing one of his prime targets leave Scotland for pastures new in Germany or Norfolk, not Tyneside.
The Toon boss will be even more disappointed to miss out on Ajer after Welsh’s effusive praise. His comments show the type of leader Bruce could add to the Newcastle dressing room with the 23-cap Norway defender.
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