CELTIC could quite easily cash on Kristoffer Ajer, who has been attracting admiring glances from down south and overseas of late, in the January transfer window and make a tidy profit on their initial £650,000 investment if a suitable bid is forthcoming.

They have done it before very successfully on numerous occasions in the past with the young players they have, like the Norwegian internationalist, brought in for nominal fees and developed over several seasons.

The 21-year-old has been linked with the likes of AC Milan, Leicester City and Southampton in the first half of the 2019/20 campaign due to the quality of his play both domestically and in Europe.

In time, the centre half will almost certainly follow the well-trodden paths taken by the likes of Moussa Dembele, Fraser Forster, Ki Sung-yueng, Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama by either moving to England or abroad.

Yet, with the Parkhead club bidding to win a ninth consecutive Scottish title this term their fans would storm the directors’ box if Ajer was let go now, even for a substantial fee.

And nothing could have been further from the 6ft 6in defender’s mind this week than his long-term future as he pushed himself in punishing training sessions on the treble treble winners’ winter break in the heat of Dubai.

Improving further as a footballer and helping Neil Lennon’s team recover from their Parkhead defeat to Rangers at the end of December and maintain their domestic dominance in the coming months is all that is occupying his mind at the moment.

“I’m really happy now,” he said. “I’ve got two and a half years in Celtic and I’m happy with it. I love playing for Celtic. All talks of contracts is between my agent and the club and I’m just concentrated on day-to-day work and trying to be the best footballer I can.

“I’m not fussed about speculation. I’m happy here and want me and the club to have a fantastic next six months coming up. This is a great place to be. I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Scott Brown and his team mates have been savaged by their own fans and written off by their opponents’ supporters since their 2-1 defeat to Steven Gerrard’s side in the final Ladbrokes Premiership game before the winter shutdown. But that background chatter hasn’t affected Ajer’s focus either.

“I try as much as I can to disconnect from everything except the football,” he said. “That’s one of the main things for us all of the players and why we have been so successful in recent years. We keep the noise outside away and just try to focus on the football.

“It’s the same for every big club. It’s important to just stay and develop your side of the game and think about what you can do better. I stay disconnected from what is said outside of the park and don’t really want to comment on anything else. Our job is to play football and try to win games.

“I’ve got a great family, friends and girlfriend. She doesn’t know much about football, so it’s nice to go home and not talk about tactics or the physical part of the game. It’s important to be focused as a footballer when you train and play, but also to be able not to think about football sometimes. It’s a nice balance to have.

“The people in Glasgow are really kind and open hearted. My neighbours are fantastic and everyone takes care of you. Scottish people are without a doubt one of the kindest I have met.”

Ajer wasn’t particularly chipper when he allowed Nikola Katic to get on the end of a Borna Barisic corner and head home what turned to be the winning goal for Rangers at Parkhead a fortnight ago. But he has accepted full responsibility for his lapse in concentration.

“It’s all about looking through games and learning,” he said. “If you look at every single thing you do, it would be tough, but you try to learn as much as you can and move on with it.”

It was a rare slip-up from a player who has established himself as an important and influential player in the Celtic first team despite his tender years. But the Scandinavian baulks at suggestions he is now a senior member of the Scottish champions’ side.

Ajer considers himself part of a tight-knit unit and envisages that togetherness and team ethos will be crucial as they bid to maintain their stranglehold on the Premiership in the weeks ahead.

“There are so many experienced players here who have achieved way more than me, so I know my place in the team,” he said. “I know what the experienced players want from the young players coming up and through and we are just trying to do the best we can.

“I wouldn’t band myself as that (big player in the team). That would be for others. There are so many great characters and players with tons of experience.

“I wouldn’t compare myself to Broony. He’s a legend and I’m just a 21-year-old coming from Norway. There’s no comparison or anywhere near it. There’s a togetherness in the group which is really important. It is what makes us strong.”