Reports by The Sun have claimed Steve Bruce is ready to push through plans for Newcastle United to sign Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer this summer.
The Magpies allegedly sent scouts to cast their verdict on the 23-year-old enforcer in action against bitter rivals Rangers on Sunday and were not put off despite a 4-1 humbling at Ibrox.
Ajer was criticised by ex-Gers star Kris Boyd for his role in Alfredo Morelos putting his side back ahead after Odsonne Edouard’s equaliser, accusing him of ‘ducking out the road’.
Yet Bruce is willing to give the green light to Newcastle sealing a deal, and capitalising on Ajer looking destined to leave Parkhead as he nears the final year of his current contract.
Norwich City are also eying a move for Ajer (The Sun) after Sporting Director Stuart Webber personally watched the Norwegian in action last month, as he prepares to reinvest the funds raised from selling Max Aarons.
The Canaries are likely to offer Celtic around £8m for Ajer (The Sun) as boss Daniel Farke feels the 21-capped international meets his desired checklist; the same as Newcastle are rumoured to be prepared to pay (Daily Mail).
Celtic believe Ajer would actually be worth closer to £35m (Daily Mail) if he had longer left on his contract with the Scottish giants, who he joined in 2016 and has won three Premiership titles with over the past four seasons.
Newcastle could seemingly land a bargain by moving for Ajer this summer as he enters the final year of his Celtic contract, but the concerns raised over his efforts against Rangers on Sunday shows Bruce will not be signing a finished product in the 23-year-old.
His role in Morelos’s goal also marked the latest issue in a steady decline for the defender who Hoops idol Harald Brattbakk claimed was ‘brilliant’ last year, as Norway boss Stale Solbakken admitted he ‘suffered’ after two costly errors in defeat to Turkey in March.
But what Ajer can bring to St. James’ Park in the summer would be experiences of winning titles in Scotland and competing in Europe on a domestic level, which has attracted the interest of AC Milan (The Sun) and continues to gain interest from Italian sides (Daily Mail).