CELTIC will step up their efforts to offload £5million Swiss flop Albian Ajeti before the transfer window closes on September 1.

The 25-year-old misfiring frontman has scored a paltry nine goals in two years since his big-money arrival from West Ham.

That’s ELEVEN strikes fewer than £4.6million Kyogo Furuhashi who was forced to sit out 22 games during the title-winning campaign with a persistent hamstring problem.

DOWN AND OUT…Albian Ajeti is grounded after another miss.

Giorgos Giakoumakis, Liel Abada and Filipe Jota all went into double figures after being signed in the summer while Daizen Maeda, who joined in Hogmanay, claimed eight.

Ajeti scored three goals – a double in the 3-0 league win over Ross County and a single in the 4-3 loss to Real Betis in Seville – before dropping out of Ange Postecoglou’s first-team plans.

The former international forward, who is under contract until the summer of 2024, is reported to be one of the highest earners at the club and his wages were claimed to be the stumbling block when a loan return to Switzerland in January collapsed with Basel unable – or unwilling – to match his current salary.

EMOTIONAL CONTRAST…Albian Ajeti shows his frustration after firing over the crossbar from six yards with Benji Siegrist, who joined Celtic this week, obviously delighted during Dundee United’s 1-1 draw at Parkhead in September last year.

It was a similar story with Greek shotstopper Vasilis Barkas who was bought for £4.5million around the same time Ajeti arrived from Davie Moyes’ London club.

Sheffield United were interested in the unconvincing former AEK Athens netminder at the turn of the year, but were said to be frightened off by his wages which are reportedly around the £22,000-per-week mark.

The champions, though, managed to move on Barkas, who made only two appearances for Postecoglou and still has two years to run on his Parkhead deal. Dutch outfit FC Utrecht have agreed a temporary season-long move as they prepare for the forthcoming campaign.

It is hoped Ajeti will follow the keeper through the Hoops exit within the next four weeks.

Watch this space!

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