Christopher Jullien wants Celtic star Kristoffer Ajer to remain at the club next season and help the team push for an unprecedented 10th Scottish Premiership title in a row.
Ajer has excelled in central defence over the past three seasons, and was partnered by Jullien for the majority of the 2019-20 campaign following the Frenchman’s arrival from Toulouse last summer.
But with the 22-year-old Norwegian linked with a move away from Celtic Park, his teammate has urged him to ignore the calls, at least for another year.
“He is a great defender and, ultimately, I think that he can do everything,” Jullien told the Daily Record.
“He runs a lot, he defends, he can take the ball into the midfield and play.
“He has so many qualities and, in the time since I have arrived at the club, I have seen him progress.
“My team-mates watched him progress before that and had seen it before, but from my time here, I just saw him get more confident day by day and that’s good for him and the team.
“If it was down to just me, I’d be keeping all of the best players beside me for as long as I can.
“You don’t know how football goes, but myself and him understand each other when we are on the field and we help each other.”
Speculation over Ajer’s future has intensified in recent weeks, with huge European outfits such as A.C. Milan rumoured to be in for the former Start man.
Strong, aggressive and comfortable playing out from the back, he possesses all of the qualities needed in a modern defender, which would appear to make his departure from the Scottish game inevitable in the coming seasons.
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Moussa Dembele and more recently Kieran Tierney have gone on to achieve success in other leagues after departing Celtic, and the time will surely come when Ajer feels he has achieved all he can in the famous green and white shirt.
The Hoops are currently preparing for the start of the new league season and kick off their title defence with a home clash against Hamilton Academical on August 2.
With Celtic set to be pushed by Rangers to the 2020-21 title, the Hoops will need a solid defence and keeping Ajer at the club – as Jullien hopes happens – could well be the difference between a momentous ten in a row or the Gers having the last laugh.