Saturday, January 29, 2022

Celtic Strike Deal For This Aussie Playmaker: Smart From Postecoglou?

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Pratyay Maitra
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According to the Daily Record, Celtic have struck a deal with Charlotte FC for midfield star Riley McGree. A fee of around £3m has been agreed to secure his services this month and Ange Postecoglou’s personal touch has smoothened the talks over a potential winter transfer.

The Hoops have already made his influence count by roping in Japanese trio Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Daizen Maeda. However, they are not done yet in the ongoing window and the spending spree has continued for the betterment of the first-team squad. An ambitious project is being run at Parkhead and the club is aiming for quick recovery despite losing an array of key personnel ahead of the ongoing campaign.

The 23-year-old playmaker progressed through the youth ranks of his hometown outfit Adelaide United. There he impressed enough to secure a switch to Club Brugge but failed to make the cut in Belgium with no first-team appearance. McGree returned to A-League on successive loans with Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City before rejoining his boyhood side on a permanent deal.

The youngster finally justified his potential as a midfield attacker and his emergence in Adelaide colours earned him a move to newly-formed MLS outfit Charlotte FC back in October 2020. Meanwhile, he left Charlotte immediately for Birmingham City following a loan interest from the English Championship side and went on to make 30 appearances for the Blues before his contract expired last month.

Celtic linked midfield star Riley McGree in action for Birmingham City
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 11: Marlon Pack of Cardiff City is challenged by Riley McGree of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Cardiff City at St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium on December 11, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images). https://the4thofficial.net/category/leagues/scottish-league/celtic/.

Why It’s Been Another Smart Swoop From Celtic

Although there’s been interest from Middlesbrough over a permanent swoop, their failure of meeting the financial demands has handed Celtic a significant boost in this transfer hunt. Postecoglou brought McGree into the national team mix while in charge of the Socceroos boss and the midfielder, more matured now in the aftermath of a successful European stint, would be an exquisite addition in the centre of the pitch.

Having said that, the Aussie international must fight for his place as the Bhoys have wrapped up deals for both Ideguchi and Hatate. The trio would challenge the likes of Callum McGregor, Nir Bitton, Tom Rogic, James McCarthy and David Turnbull in the middle of the park and the growing competition would offer depth as well as quality going forward.

McGree has exhibited his expertise in various midfield roles. He could be deployed as a ‘number 10’, double pivot or even from the base of a three-man midfield. His box-to-box movements, work rate and defensive traits should see him scripting a success story in the coming days.

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