Following the departure of Dejan Lovren from Liverpool to Zenit St Petersburg, it isn’t surprising to see Jurgen Klopp and the Reds touted with being in the running for another central defensive option this summer.
The Daily Star report that Liverpool are paying attention to Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer.
Ajer, 22, was a key figure for Neil Lennon’s team last season clocking up an impressive 49 appearances – and that was all before the lockdown.
However, Ajer is set to call it a time at Parkhead with the Norway international seeking a move away from the Bhoys with Liverpool reportedly interested in on a deal for the gargantuan defender – who stands at 2m tall.
Cheap and talented
The Daily Star report that Liverpool could have to pay in the region of £20m to land Ajer as a direct replacement for Lovren who recently ended a six-year spell with the Reds to join Zenit in a £10.9 million.
Celtic recently offered the former Kilmarnock centre-back a new contract but he turned it down earlier this year.
His agent Tore Pedersen said in March: “He will not extend his contract with Celtic and will leave this summer.
“There are several clubs who are interested, but I can’t go into their names.
“There are many who have followed him for a long period.
“There are also clubs who would like to have him, but who cannot afford it. There is generally great interest in Kristoffer.”
Even if this is slightly on the expensive side for a player who effectively will come into the club as the fourth-choice centre-back, Liverpool should be able to get a deal done. Conisdering his age and durability last season, this wouldn’t be an extortianate figure.
Liverpool were able to offload a 31-year-old Lovren for half the price so compared to the types of fees the Reds could have to pay, this could be a bargain.
Central defence has been identified as a key area that needs sufficient cover given the injury records of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez. Fabinho having to slot into the back-four in the Community Shield on Saturday also paid notion to that.
Ajer is a dominant figure in defence and is given his towering height, he is rarely beaten in the air. With three goals and two assists from 28 Scottish Premiership appearances, Ajer is also a useful figure to have during attacking set-pieces.
Liverpool could look to benefit from yet another talented defensive prospect from Celtic similarly to how they did with Virgil van Dijk.
Indeed, it is unlikely that Ajer will have a mirror-opposite effect to the irreplaceable Dutchman yet considering Ajer is six years Van Dijk’s junior, it would suggest his development still has a long way to go.
Also, what better place to learn than under the tutelage of the best central defender in world football. Ajer is less proven than Van Dijk, but he would come at less than a third of the price.
Ajer has previously confessed his love for the Reds, saying:
“[My dream] is to walk out on Liverpool’s home ground, Anfield, and hear the supporters singing You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Liverpool need to be sensible with their business and another central defender is a priority this summer and Ajer would be an investment worth gambling on.
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