Celtic are set to complete the signing of Carl Starfelt, with Kristoffer Ajer leaving the Hoops, Fabrizio Romano reports.
What’s the latest transfer news at Celtic?
According to the journalist, Kristoffer Ajer is set to move to Premier League newcomers Brentford in a deal worth €15m (£13m), with Rubin Kazan defender Carl Starfelt arriving as his replacement in the heart of defence.
The Swedish international will cost €5m (£4.3m), and the move is set to be announced in the coming days.
Does Romano’s update come as a surprise?
Neither move will come as a surprise, as they have been reported on for a good while now.
John Percy, the Northern football correspondent for the Daily Telegraph first reported that Brentford had agreed a fee with Celtic for Ajer on July 15th, whilst Football Insider claimed a day prior that the Hoops had a £4.3m bid for Starfelt accepted by Rubin Kazan.
Does Starfelt have what it takes to replace Ajer?
The pressure will be on Starfelt when he finally arrives at Celtic as he will be replacing a player who was part of a Hoops squad that won multiple domestic trophies in Scotland. He is experienced though, and has made 42 appearances for Rubin Kazan in his time in Russia.
At 26 he is three years older than Ajer, and has also played for IFK in his native Sweden. It might take Starfelt some time to get used to playing in Scotland, but once he gets to the grips with the game he could well be a key man for Celtic.
He will have to be, as without Ajer the defence looks inexperienced. Transfermarkt shows that the Hoops squad does not have a lot of centre-backs outside of Ajer, and the most experienced, Christopher Jullien, is currently injured.
Is Ajer ready to succeed in the Premier League?
There is little doubt that Ajer’s time at Celtic has been a success.
He won eight major honours in his time in Glasgow, and established himself as a first-team regular. Ajer has made 176 appearances in total for the Hoops, which is impressive for a 23-year-old, and now he looks to have won a move to the Premier League.
Brentford must be very keen to sign the centre-back – they could have agreed a pre-contract with him in January for a move next summer, with his Parkhead deal winding down. The Hoops have done well to get eight figures for him.
Ajer was a mainstay for the Bhoys, but it will be a much bigger challenge for him in England. Just like Starfelt, he will need time to settle.
Should he get that time and perform well, then Ajer could well earn a move to a bigger club in the future.