When Kris Ajer’s agent claimed the Norwegian would be leaving Celtic this summer, clubs down south would have undoubtedly turned their attention to the defender.

The centre-half’s representative, Tore Pedersen, stated last week that the 21-year-old would leave Glasgow and that there were a host of sides monitoring the situation, ready to make their move.

Former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, now Leicester City boss, has been named among Ajer’s reported admirers in recent weeks alongsideAC Milan and Sevilla, leading Neil Lennon to stress that his player will be going nowhere this year with his contract running until 2022.

Should Celtic decide to cash-in on the Norway international, the Scottish champions would expect to receive a hefty sum for the player who has racked up 129 appearances in green and white.

Fellow countryman and former Parkhead favourite Harald Brattbakk, though, believes the fact that Ajer has been plying his trade in Scotland could work against him and his club when it comes to transfer value.

“A lot of good players in Scotland are not rated high enough because they think that Scottish football is not good enough,” he said. “[Virgil] Van Dijk had to go to Southampton and play two games before Liverpool thought he was good enough. They could have bought him for £50million straight from Celtic but they had to pay £25m more from Southampton. That’s unfair.

“But it shows that there are so many good players in Scotland – even going back to the likes of Henrik Larsson who scored 50 goals a season and went on to win Champions League with Barcelona.

“Andrew Robertson, too. There are so many quality players in the Scottish system and I just hope that more get the chance to play for Scottish teams, but also if they want to move on, then it’s possible.”

While Brattbakk accepts that Ajer could move on for a sizeable transfer fee one day, he reckons the centre-back should stay on at Celtic for a few more seasons. The defender – a straight-A student – has a mature head on his shoulders and Brattbakk is sure cash is no motivator for the player.

“I don’t think Kris is the kind of guy that needs that to have a good career,” he added. “Maybe like Henrik he can stay here for a few more years. But then the money is a big issue. I heard Van Dijk doubled his salary going to Southampton and then doubled it again at least when he moved to Liverpool. 

“Obviously that can make a difference and you would be stupid to say no to doubling your money somewhere else. But it has to be a good match for the player as well. The money that is in football now is so big at that level anyway – if you have three million a year or five million a year, who cares? It doesn’t make a difference. 

“It’s more important to choose a club that suits you. There are so many to choose from down south. And Kris has been brilliant. But what impresses me most is that he is good at school as well. He left school with all As. That’s equally impressive and tells me that he is focused on everything he does.

“He is not the quickest, he is a big guy but not the strongest. But he just puts together all these qualities and becomes a brilliant central defender. He is consistent most of all. He is very mature. He is important for Celtic and also for Norway.”