Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing a summer swoop for Celtic’s Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer, who has also been linked with Manchester City and Leicester City.
According to a report from Defensa Central, as carried by Mundo Deportivo, Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer has emerged as a potential transfer target for Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Ajer, 22, joined Celtic in the summer of 2016, from Norwegian outfit IK Start. After a short loan spell at fellow Scottish outfit Kilmarnock, the centre-back became a key member of the Hoops first-team in the 2017-18 season.
So far, he has featured 129 times for the Bhoys, winning three Scottish Premiership titles, three Scottish League Cups and two Scottish FA Cups. The 2019-20 campaign saw the Norwegian feature 49 times across all competitions, contributing with four goals and two assists.
Ajer’s rise to prominence in Scotland has seen him attract interest from a number of Premier League clubs including current champions Manchester City, along with Leicester City, Everton and Wolves. And now, Real Madrid too have joined the list of his admirers, with the Merengues considering a summer swoop.
🎉 #CelticFC‘s Kristoffer Ajer turns 22 today!
Here are some special moments from the birthday Bhoy 🎂🟢 pic.twitter.com/B2IcbhizIB
— Celtic Football Club (from 🏡) (@CelticFC) April 17, 2020
Real Madrid strengthened their centre-back department last summer with the big-money signing of Eder Militao. But that hasn’t exactly worked out for the club with the Brazilian not establishing himself at the Santiago Bernabeu. As a result, the club are reportedly open to offloading him this summer.
In addition, captain and legend Sergio Ramos turned 34 years old in March and Real Madrid need to find a long-term successor for the Spaniard. So, Los Blancos are intent on bringing in a new centre-back when the transfer window opens, with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano emerging as their top target.
However, given the Frenchman’s steep valuation, the Spanish heavyweights are keeping their options open, with Ajer being one among the alternatives that they have identified for Upamecano. The 22-year-old has been recommended to Real Madrid by compatriot Martin Odegaard, who has been with the club since 2015.
The 22-year-old, who has 14 caps for the Norwegian national team, is contracted with Celtic till the summer of 2022. Given the amount of interest he is attracting, there is a good chance that Ajer will be on the move in the upcoming transfer window. However, as far as a switch to Real Madrid is considered, it is likely to go through only if their pursuit of Upamecano falls through.