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AC Milan to step up efforts to sign Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer

© SNSKristoffer Ajer during a Celtic training session
Kristoffer Ajer during a Celtic training session

AC Milan are ready to redouble their efforts to land Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer.

The Serie A giants have already had an offer – believed to be in the region of around £13.5m – rejected for the Norwegian international.

However, Italian sources close to the club insist that was simply the opening gambit, and that Milan are not all discouraged from their pursuit of a player they have been tracking for the last two years.

They say Ajer’s admirers are prepared to pay up to 25 million euros (£22.4m) to get the 22-year-old.

It is also understood that the move will be pursued regardless of the identity of the club’s manager.

Stefano Pioli is currently in charge, but is tipped to be axed with his place set to be taken by German coach, Ralf Rangnick.

Most intriguingly, sources insist Milan are also ready to offer Celtic a variety of central defensive options to help sweeten the deal and help the Hoops cope with the loss of Ajer.

Among the names being talked about for permanent deals out of the San Siro are Italian Under-21 internationalist Matteo Gabbia (20) and the Argentinian Mateo Musacchio (29).

At the same time they are covering their options by also tracking a list of other highly-rated young central defenders.

Nikola Milenkovic (22) of Fiorentina, Tanguy Kouassi (18) of Bayern, and Luca Kilian (20) of German club Paderborn 07 are among those under consideration.