Kristoffer Ajer believes he can graduate as a senior Celtic player in the Champions League qualifiers this summer after finishing school back home in Norway, writes Stephen Halliday.
The highly-rated 17-year-old midfielder has signed a four-year contract with the Scottish champions who agreed a deal worth up to £800,000 with his Norwegian club Start.
Ajer will return home and continue to play for Start when the 2016 Tippeligaen season begins next month. He will also complete his secondary school education before formally joining Celtic in June.
While Ajer may be regarded by many observers as a longer-term prospect for Ronny Deila’s side, the 6ft 5in teenager insists he is capable of hitting the ground running as a first-team player.
“Celtic is such a big club that they must be in the Champions League, so that is what I will try for at the start,” said Ajer.
“I have already played almost 50 matches in the Tippeligaen back in Norway, so I think I am ready to take the step. I will try to get as many first-team games as possible.
“Start have been struggling with the economy in Norway, so they haven’t got a big squad. I’m going back there to hopefully play a lot in the first three months of the Norwegian season.
“It should be absolutely perfect for me. Then I will come back to Celtic, so I will be ready for the Champions League qualifiers.
“Staying in Norway until the summer will also let me finish high school and take my driving test, so there are a lot of good things for me there.
“It’s hard to tell how long it will take me to get into the first team at Celtic, but I definitely want to play a lot of games. That’s why I am coming here, to prove myself good enough.”