CELTIC are prepared to take a £3million hit on misfit striker Albian Ajeti.
The Swiss flop cost £5million when Neil Lennon bought him from West Ham in the summer of 2020 as the manager attempted to strengthen his attack for the assault on the historic tenth successive crown.
Ajeti miserably failed to live up to expectations and managed to claim a mere six goals in a wretched campaign for the Hoops in which they completed a season without silverware for the first time in 11 years.
DOWN AND OUT…Albian Ajeti reflects on a miss in the 1-1 home draw with Dundee United in September 2021.
The 26-year-old misfiring frontman hit a lamentable three – two in one game, the 3-0 win over Ross County at Parkhead in August 2021 – in Ange Postecoglou’s debut crusade.
The Greek-Australian gaffer had seen enough of the player in the opening months to omit him from his plans for the remainder of the term with Kyogo Furuhashi, who cost £400,000 less when he was recruited from the J-League, leading the line and scoring 20 goals in a title-winning year that saw him sidelined with two separate injures for a combined four months.
Ajeti, reportedly one of the best-paid players on the Parkhead books after leaving Davie Moyes’ Premier League outfit, was packed off on a season-lon loan to Sturm Graz in the summer.
He has scored only four goals in 23 appearances in all competitions for the Austrian side, but club officials have confirmed they will open talks with Celtic about a permanent signing in June in a deal worth £2million, a move predicted by CQN in October last year.
COLLECTOR’S ITEM…Albian Ajeti soars to head one of his double past Ross County keeper Ross Laidlaw in Celtic’s 3-0 win in August 2021.
The team are chasing the title and have 33 points after 27 games, just three behind leaders RB Salzburg. Ajeti missed their 3-2 midweek win over Austria Vienna.
Sporting director Andreas Shicker, speaking to local sports media, admitted: “The situation with Albian Ajeti is still open.
“Fortunately, we can still exercise the purchase option after the end of the season and, therefore, we want to wait for a few more games before we enter into an exchange with Celtic.”
Ajeti still has 14 months to run on his contract at Parkhead, but it is clear he has no future at the champions.
On this occasion, the Hoops hierarchy may willingly write off £3million to accept a reduced £2million fee for a striker who could not achieve double figures in two years at the club.