Kris Ajer’s chances of joining Newcastle United are dwindling as the Magpies refuse to accept Celtic’s asking price.

The 23-year-old has been linked with transfers to Bayer Leverkusen, Norwich City, and Brentford, but Newcastle are the early favourites to sign him. According to The Northern Echo, Steve Bruce’s squad is not optimistic about getting Ajer since Celtic are sticking to their £20 million price tag.

Celtic turned down an offer from Brentford for £12 million plus £3 million in add-ons, but the Hoops are believed to demand at least £15 million up front for the central defender. Ajer has made it plain that he feels his future lies outside of Celtic.

Ajer joined Celtic for £500,000 from IK Start in 2016 as a midfielder, but Brendan Rodgers reassigned him as a central defence and sent him out on loan to show his value.

He has had a great deal of success throughout his tenure at the club, playing a key role in the Quadruple Treble and even scored the game-winning goal against Hearts.

He should be moved on for the best possible price, but that may be tough to do in a single window; it may be a question of accepting a package that is less than ideal, but considering COVID-19’s contract status, losing him for free would be a disappointment.

Celtic are interested in bringing in Carl Starfelt and Brandon Soppy as defensive reinforcements, but they may have to trade one of their prized assets first.