KRISTOFFER Ajer may be the next player to leave Celtic for a big-money move to the Premier League, according to Norway legend John Arne Riise.

The 21-year-old defender has been in excellent form both domestically and in the Parkhead side’s successful Europa League group campaign this season and has taken great strides since his tentative early days as a callow teenager in the Celtic backline. His compatriot, Riise, has been suitably impressed.

READ MORE: Full steam ahead for Celtic as Kris Ajer hopes Neil Lennon doesn't ring the changes for Rennes 

Celtic have developed a happy knack of buying cheap, talented players such as Virgil van Dijk and Moussa Dembele in recent seasons and selling them on for lucrative fees. 

Striker Odsonne Edouard has been touted as the most likely to follow suit with the Frenchman also having performed at Under-21 international level, but Riise believes Ajer, who has two and a half years left on his deal at Celtic, belongs in the conversation, too.

“He’s a good player but he’s going to be even better,” said Riise, now a BeIn Sport analyst. 

“He’s a winner and I expect him to move on to a bigger club eventually, which is fine as long as Celtic get what they deserve.

“Providing Celtic tie players like him down on contracts then they have the right model because I don’t like to see players moving to big clubs for free once they are out of contract.”

Riise, though, believes that Ajer will do right by Celtic and not seek to walk away for nothing.“I don’t think Kris will do that because he knows how much Celtic have done for him, but he’s the next big thing and he’s good enough to play in the Premier League.”

READ MORE: Kristoffer Ajer won't let Celtic strikers take his goal this time 

Riise, who has spent this week coaching at Generation Amazing, a Qatar World Cup-backed training programme for young people from across the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, added that he saw comparisons with a former 
Liverpool team-mate in the Celtic centre-half.

“He’s quite big and people think he’s slow because of that but he’s quicker than you think and he’s a proper defender – a bit like Jamie Carragher who I played with at Liverpool,” he said.

“Jamie wasn’t the best technical player but he was a defender and Ajer is the same – he’s just a pure defender.”