Ronny Deila believes Celtic had to sign Kristoffer Ajer now as they wouldn’t have stood a chance in the summer.
The Norwegian followed Ajer’s development whilst he was at Stromsgodset and was watching on keenly when the 17-year-old played for Lillestrom.
Contact between Deila and Ajer was made easier by the fact they share the same agent, Tore Pedersen and allowed negotiations to run more smoothly.
Ajer spent a week at the Lennoxtown training complex last month and immediately impressed Deila and his coaching staff.
As quoted by Norwegian media outlet FVN, Deila admitted Celtic didn’t stand a chance in the summer to sign the prodigy once other clubs stepped in.
When asked about why the move was so sudden he said:
Then we would not have gotten him. Then someone else would have intercepted him before us.
It’s a big step from going from playing 30 games in Norwegian league to 60 matches in Scotland and internationally, as we did last year. I followed him all the way.
He played against us when I was in Strømsgodset. When played Martin Ødegaard on one team and he Lillestrom.
Neither side could come to an agreement throughout the January window but struck a deal on Tuesday, as Ajer signed a four-year deal to keep him at Celtic until the summer of 2020.
The holding midfielder will now begin training for Start in their pre-season and will be fully fit and raring to go when he joins Celtic in June.
So far Ajer had made 47 professional appearances, netting on 13 occasions and providing five assists.