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Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer makes Virgil van Dijk admission

Kristopher Ajer of Celtic during the International Champions Cup series match between Barcelona and Celtic at Aviva Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

The big Celtic centre-back admits he's got a long way to go before he considers himself in league with Virgil van Dijk.

14th April 2019, Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish Cup football, semi final, Aberdeen versus Celtic; Kristoffer Ajer of Celtic challenges for the ball with Sam Cosgrove of Aberdeen

Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer has dismissed suggestions of being the next Virgil van Dijk.

The Norway international has had a sensational 2019 for the Hoops so far, and won particular praise from his performance against Rangers last month.

At only 20 years old, Ajer has a very bright future in the game but when asked how he measures up to former Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk, who commanded a £75 million fee in 2018 [The Guardian], the young stalwart said to The Scotsman: "No, I don’t think so!"

“Van Dijk is the best defender in the world. I am so far away from that. I am just focused on developing every day and Celtic is the perfect club for me to do that.

 

"Of course he is a fantastic player."

With Dedryck Boyata poised to leave on a Bosman and Filip Benkovic potentially heading back to parent club Leicester City, the next Celtic manager will need new centre-halves.

But Ajer's presence makes it less of an urgent matter. It would be different if the Bhoys had to sign two quality central defenders this summer, but the young Norwegian, signed by Ronny Deila in 2016, will almost certainly be one of the two first-choice defenders next term.

Ajer, who stands at 6'5, is a similar height to Van Dijk and definitely has similar footballing attributes, but it's a tad unfair to compare him to the Dutchman at this stage in his career.

The Liverpool star left Celtic six months before Ajer arrived, originally joining Southampton before then sealing a big-money switch to Anfield in January of 2018.

Kristoffer Ajer of Celtic FC  during round of 32 Second leg of UEFA Europa league  match between Valencia CF vs Celtic at Mestalla Stadium on February 21, 2019. (Photo by Jose Miguel...

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