CONSIDERING Kristoffer Ajer spent a week on trial in Glasgow before the closure of the January transfer window, it seems fair to say that negotiations over his summer transfer to Celtic have gone into a spot of extra-time.

Hard bargaining is becoming second nature to the 17-year-old. After all, it is only a fortnight or so since he appeared on national television in Norway to profess his undying love for his girlfriend, a handball player, and reveal that it would be his dream to play football in a city in which she could follow her own sporting dreams.

Barcelona may beckon in future. For the moment, though, that is not going to be Glasgow.

“To introduce handball there is a long project,” he remarked, with a knowing smile.

Karoline Olsen, also 17, is an up-and-coming talent with Kristiansand Vipers. Quite what kind of agreement has been struck between the pair as they pursue their individual ambitions remains unclear, but Ajer now appears certain to take up the offer of a long-term contract with the Ladbrokes Premiership champions after they agreed a fee with IK Start, which could rise to as much as £650,000, and earned permission to fly to Scotland from a Norway Under-19s training camp in La Manga.

Ajer is a hugely promising individual, the youngest player to captain a side in the Tippeligaen, versatile enough to play in midfield or defence and possessing obvious physical qualities at 6ft 5in.

He was being watched by other, well-known clubs. Indeed, it has come as something as a surprise to those with Celtic affiliations in Norway that Celtic were able to get a deal done in the end.

“It is a very exciting signing, but also a little surprising,” said Harald Harsson, head of the Norway Celtic Supporters’ Club. “I thought he would not move to Glasgow because of his girlfriend.

“I think this will be a very positive signing for Celtic, though. A signing for the future.

“Ajer has been very good for Start despite his age. It may not have been at the level of Martin Odegaard, but the fact he was the captain of Start aged 16 is impressive.”

Ajer shares an agent with the Celtic manager, Ronny Deila, and midfielder Stefan Johansen. He will already know much of the culture of the club and benefit from that, providing Deila continues to be the man in charge come the beginning of next season.

Vidar Riseth has followed his progress closely at home and believes he has chosen a club more than capable of catapulting his career to the next level.

“It is a very good choice, I think,” said Riseth, who played for Celtic between 1998 and 2001. “Firstly, Ronny Deila is there and he has shown that he is willing to put faith in young players.

“I believe he will get playing time and be given a chance next season, but I would not expect him to have a permanent place. Nobody will expect too much of him in his first season.”

Riseth played during a very different era in Scottish football when multi-million pound transfer deals were the norm and the Old Firm harboured genuine ambitions of succeeding in European competition.

Celtic now work with a very definite strategy of buying promising young players with the intention of developing them, providing a platform and eventually selling for profit. Riseth believes that changing landscape provides Ajer with a perfect opportunity to grow.

“Celtic, of course, is very different as a club from the time I was there,” he said. “Back then, there were established players such as Chris Sutton, Mark Viduka, Paul Lambert and, of course, Henrik Larsson.

“The emphasis is now more on young players.”

For all the information he will have received from Deila, though, Riseth believes there will be one particular element of life in Glasgow that Ajer will not be able to prepare for.

“Ajer will probably be surprised at how the fans are there,” said Riseth.

“It's fantastic to be a Celtic player. You can not get any bigger when it comes to fans.

“Celtic supporters are also especially supportive of younger players. In his debut, he will definitely play with goosebumps.”

Harald Brattbakk, another Norwegian old Bhoy, can certainly tell some stories about becoming an unlikely hero for a global following.

He scored the second goal in an historic 2-0 win over St Johnstone in May 1998, which stopped arch-rivals Rangers from winning a 10th consecutive league title. Despite enduring mixed fortunes in Glasgow, it rubberstamped his place in Celtic history.

“Celtic are a great club with an incredible fan base,” said Brattbakk. “He should just enjoy every day he gets at Celtic Park.

“It is only after I left that I realised how big club it actually is. I am still recognised by Celtic fans worldwide.

“Kristoffer has shown he will be a good player in the future and I am glad that he chose Celtic.”