Newcastle target tipped to play at the top level when he leaves Celtic

Celtic defender Stephen Welsh has backed team-mate Kristoffer Ajer to reach the top level when he leaves Parkhead.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:00 am

Ajer, 23, still has a year left on his contract with the SPL club but looks set to leave this summer amid Premier League interest.

The defender is said to be on Newcastle’s radar and has been strongly linked with a £6million move to St James’ Park.

And Welsh, 21, says it will be hard to replace the Norwegian international if he does depart this summer.

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Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer.

“Kris has been fantastic for the last four or five years – he’s been so good, especially when I came into the team,” Welsh told PA Sport.

“He has really helped me so much. Whatever happens, happens. But he’s a fantastic player and I’m sure he can play at the top level.

“Will he be hard to replace? You can say that about every player that goes from Celtic. We will find a way. He’s still a Celtic player, so I think we’ll be all right.

“Working together as a partnership, I thought we fitted in well together. He has done well. He’s a great character for the team day in, day out.

“He’s a bubbly guy. First and foremost, he’s a brilliant player and a good leader for the team.”

Celtic are also looking for a new manager after talks with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe broke down.

The Hoops finished second in the SPL in the 2020/21 season - 25 points behind rivals Rangers.

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