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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: AJER TRANSFER UPDATE, McKENNA REVELATION, DONCASTER’S £91k BONUS

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CELTIC’S Norwegian international centre-back Kristoffer Ajer is NOT on Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City wanted list.

Speculation linked the towering defender with a reunion with his former Hoops boss in the January transfer window.

There had even been talk of a possible swap deal with Filip Benkovic who impressed during last season’s loan spell at the champions and who has yet to figure in the Midlands club’s first team under the Irishman.

However, a report in the Daily Record, insists Ajer will be remaining at Parkhead with Rodgers looking elsewhere.

The King Power gaffer, who quit the Hoops in February, picked up a world record fee of £80million from Manchester United in the summer for Harry Maguire and is looking to replace the England international.

But he has no intention of returning to the east end of Glasgow for 22-year-old Ajer who has formed a partnership in the heart of the Celtic rearguard alongside Frenchman Christopher Jullien, who arrived in the summer in a £7million switch from Toulouse.

Neil Lennon is short of cover in the central area with Jozo Simunovic currently ruled out.

SCOTT McKENNA has admitted his transfer demand is OFF the table – but the Scotland international could still quit Aberdeen in January.

The 22-year-old centre-back was frustrated in the summer after the Dons knocked back £3.5million bids from Championship outfits Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest.

Former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and Aston Villa had also been knocked back in enquiries at the turn of the year.

Scotland international McKenna, who is in Steve Clarke’s squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus on Saturday and Kazakhstan on Tuesday, slapped in an official transfer request, but Pittodrie gaffer Derek McInnes made it clear he was in no rush to part with the team’s key defender.

Asked if the written demand still stood, McKenna, speaking to the Daily Record, answered: “No. That was something that was in a few months ago, but as soon as the window closed, my attention was back on Aberdeen.

“I just need to keep my head down and see what happens come January. It’s a big couple of months.

“As soon as every window closes, the next six months is always big. The closer you get to the window, all you hear is people saying: ‘You need to play well the next five or six games, your future could depend on it’.

“You become used to it. I’ve heard it so many times now. I just want to do as well as I can in every single game I play in, whether that’s for Scotland or Aberdeen.”

NEIL DONCASTER, the SPFL Chief Executive, has been handed a whopping performance-related bonus of £91,000.

The ruling body’s annual report and financial statement up to May 31, 2019 revealed an inflation-busting pay packet of £388,000 for the highest-paid director – up from £297,000 in 2018.

Doncaster’s 30 per cent pay hike came as part off a long-term incentive plan which rewarded the delivery of a new £160million five-year Premiership TV deal with Sky Sports beginning in season 2020/21.

Awarded a similar bonus in 2017, the most recent increase in take home pay comes after the SPFL had been criticised for the fixtures fiasco surrounding last year’s Betfred League Cup semi-finals.

The SPFL were forced into a U-turn over a decision to play both Aberdeen v Rangers and Hearts v Celtic at Hampden on Sunday, October 28. The decision was met with fierce criticism from the clubs, fans and the Scottish Police Federation.

Holders Celtic were then switched to play their last-four tie against Hearts at Murrayfield, home of Scottish rugby!

The report also confirmed work is underway to replace key sponsors Ladbrokes, Betfred and Challenge Cup sponsor Tunnocks when their commercial deals lapse at the end of this season.

 

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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