ALBIAN Ajeti and his twin brother Adonis both spurned the advances of Barcelona after being courted by the European giants on a dream visit to their renowned La Masia youth academy as promising teenagers.

Yet, the Swiss striker knew immediately that Celtic was the perfect place for him to further his career after chatting to their manager Neil Lennon and leapt at the chance to join him at the Parkhead club.

Ajeti finally completed his protracted £5m move from West Ham yesterday and signed a four year contract with the Scottish champions. It has taken some time to conclude the transfer. But the 23-year-old was at pains to point out exactly why after finally putting pen to paper.

He endured a difficult time at the London Stadium, where Manuel Pellegrini was replaced by Davie Moyes as manager a few months after he arrived, last season. He only made nine Premier League appearances and failed to net once.

The former Augsburg, St Gallen and Basel forward was keen to know exactly how Lennon intended to utilise his talents so he could be sure he would avoid another frustrating campaign on the sidelines. But once he had done so he had no hesitation in joining.

“We talked on the phone and he told me he knew my qualities and what kind of striker I am,” said Ajeti. “He believes I can fit perfectly in this Celtic team and this was a main reason for me to sign for Celtic.

“For me it was important that the boss Neil Lennon and the sporting director Nick Hammond showed a lot of interest in me. It was also important for me to feel like I would be an important player if I was going to sign for as big a club as Celtic is.

“But when you have a chance to play for them, with all the tradition they have and the history of this football club and the fans they have, I am happy.”

Ajeti was far from content at West Ham. He failed to justify the £9m fee they paid Basel last year to secure his services. However, he believes he is both a stronger person and player as a result of his time down south and is hopeful it will prove invaluable going forward.

“It was a good experience,” he said. “I would say this was a year of learning, of improving mentally. I didn’t play as much as I expected. It is not always easy to sign for a football club when there are changes like we had last year at West Ham.

“I think the work I did there was good, but every manager has a different system of football and you have to understand it because not everyone is the same. It is always hard for a new manager to get the best out of the team. This is football. But it is how it is and I am happy to be at Celtic.”

Ajeti linked up well with Mohamed Elyounoussi during his second stint at Basel and is looking forward to playing alongside the Norwegian winger, who returned to Celtic from Southampton on loan this summer, again in the coming months.

He revealed that his old team mate had attempted to convince him to move to Parkhead as well as he weighed up his options.

“We had a chat and he tried to get me to sign for Celtic,” he said. “It wasn’t needed though. I didn’t need to be persuaded to sign for such a big club. We spoke more about the city and the life here in Glasgow.”

Lennon and Elyounoussi have had far greater success in wooing Ajeti than Barcelona did when he was a youngster.

“They wanted me and my twin brother when we were 16,” he said. “They were interested in signing the both of us. It wasn’t a trial, but we went over for a couple of days and were shown around the Barcelona academy and trained with them. But in the end we decided to stay in Switzerland at the Basel academy.

“People say it’s hard to say no to Barcelona, but not at that age, to be fair. When you are young you want to be with your family, with your brothers and friends, so it wasn’t that hard to say no. My brother was keen to do it, but in the end we decided to keep going with what we were doing in Switzerland. It worked out well for us.”

Ajeti has won 10 caps and scored one goal since making his debut for Switzerland two years ago. He is optimistic that playing Celtic will help to keep him involved with his national team and get selected for the rescheduled Euro 2020 finals next year.

The chance to play in the Champions League once again – he featured in the knockout rounds of Europe’s premier club competition when he was at Basel – is a particular attraction.

“There is no better place to play Champions League than Celtic with these fans,” he said. “Unfortunately they can’t be in the stadium at the moment, but as soon as they are back, there will not be a better place to play Champions League. The atmosphere in the stadium will be amazing.

"It was important for me to go to a club where I would be able to develop myself and stay for a longer time over many years. Celtic was the perfect club for me. They have always played attractive football. We have big games coming up for Switzerland. This will be a good club for me.”