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KEY MAN TOLD HE MUST QUIT HOOPS

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KRISTOFFER AJER has been told he MUST quit Celtic.

The 22-year-old centre-back is being urged to leave Parkhead by his Norwegian manager Stale Solbakken who took over the international set-up in December.

It appears one of his first jobs has been to tell Ajer to move on from Glasgow where the versatile performer has spent almist seven years since Ronny Deila signed his compatriot for a bargain £750,000 from FK Start.

Ajer is still under contract until June next year, but has been linked with several clubs over the past couple of seasons, most notably Serie A giants AC Milan.

New Norway boss Salbakken, speaking to local newspaper VG, said: “He has to change league now. He must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life there.

“I think he has got some habits which you do not notice until he meets better opposition in international matches or Europe. So, I think that would be a smart move by him.

“He should go to one of the five major leagues. He has the prerequisites to play in all those leagues. I’m calm about that.”

Solbakken’s view is endorsed by one of his coaches, former Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland, who added: “Kristoffer himself sees that, too. You rarely get the impression that he is at his capacity limit.

“If you are going to develop over a long period of time, you must be challenged as often as possible.

“I’ve told him on the phone a couple of times. In some matches he plays in Scotland, he looks like a senior who plays at junior level.

“It’s of course because he’s good and this is not criticism of the Scottish league, but he needs to be challenged more on making choices, on speed, on physics, on everything.

“If I were him, I would try to get to a higher level.”

Ajer has become a key player at the Hoops and the club know they may face an offer in the summer that may be too good to resist.

However, there will also be a massive problem in the centre-back role with Christopher Jullien ruled out until possibly October with his knee injury while Shane Duffy will be heading back to Brighton after his ill-fated loan switch.

That will leave rookie Stephen Welsh and it’s clear the Hoops are facing a few months of transfer upheaval before they attempt to get back on track.

HONOURS EVEN IN STALEMATE

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