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Newcastle pushing ahead with £8m deal for Celtic man

Newcastle are pushing ahead with a move for Celtic central defender Kristoffer Ajer, according to a report.

Toon scouts have been watching the 23-year-old and were in attendance in the recent defeat to Rangers at Ibrox. Now the Daily Mail reports that Steve Bruce and Newcastle “are advancing” their pursuit of the Norway international. Ajer looks set to leave Parkhead this summer after five years with the Hoops. He has got one year remaining on his contract and Celtic will not want to lose him for free next summer.

Norwich are also understood to be interested in Ajer, but Newcastle are believed to be further down the line and will push ahead with an £8m bid.

The Celtic rebuild will get underway this summer after they finished a mammoth 25 points behind champions Rangers.

Eddie Howe looks likely to be the man to try and revive the Glasgow giants. And he will likely be without Ajer and Odsonne Edouard when pre-season kicks-off, while Ryan Christie’s future is also in doubt.

Captain Scott Brown has already waved goodbye and Aston Villa are keen on David Turnbull.

Turnbull is another player Newcastle scouted last summer while the midfielder was at Motherwell.

The Scottish Sun report that Villa are keeping a close eye on him and are planning a £7m transfer.

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Bruce pushing Willock claims

Meanwhile, Steve Bruce reiterated his desire to try and keep Joe Willock after explaining how Newcastle have given him “freedom”.

The 21-year-old, who joined the Magpies on loan on transfer deadline day in January, has helped consolidate Newcastle’s status in the Premier League. He has scored eight goals, including seven in seven matches that culminated in a 2-0 win at Fulham. Fabian Schar secured all three points with an 88th-minute spot-kick.

It could have been Willock’s final appearance for Newcastle, but if so, it was a happy ending. They left west London with victory and a 12th-place finish.

“Watching him play you can see a young player enjoying himself and enjoying the freedom that we’ve given to him, the licence to run forward,” Bruce said.

“He’s given us something which we certainly didn’t have before.

“He’s a very, very good player. So I’ve said now for three or four weeks, we’d love to bring him back.

“He’s Arsenal’s player of course but let’s hope we can test their resolve.”

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle tracking Sunderland starlet

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