If a report from ESPN is believed to be true, in-demand Celtic sensation Matt O’Riley should cost around £15 to £20m. Leicester City have been monitoring the midfield prodigy for quite some time, but they are not the only Premier League side to scout him in recent months.
Newcastle, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool are also keeping close eyes on his situation north of the border. The Hoops bought him from MK Dons for a minuscule £1.5m fee earlier this year, but they are likely to attain a significant financial gain from his departure. He has been exquisite in a box-to-box role, moreover, his adaptability as a deep-lying playmaker has not let Celtic feel the injury absence of skipper Callum McGregor.
The 22-year-old midfielder represented England in the U16s and u18s before switching his allegiance to Denmark. He is currently a regular for the Danish U21s and his strides should see him breaking into their senior squad in due course of time.
O’Riley began his career with NPL Youth prior to joining the academy ranks of Fulham. Despite 11 senior appearances for the Cottagers, the youngster rejected a new contract in favour of a Bosman switch to MK Dons. He initially joined them as a trainee, but the move was eventually made permanent in January 2021.
Why He Is Irreplaceable In Celtic Midfield
Although he was playing in the third tier of the English pyramid, the gamble paid off for the Hoops who tied him down to bolster themselves in the centre of the pitch. Ange Postecoglou also roped in Reo Hatate last winter, and the duo are now dominating their midfield game with technicality, vision and free-flowing football.
Celtic, meanwhile, have ample options in the middle of the park. Skipper McGregor is pulling the strings from his ‘number 6’ spot, whereas Oliver Abildgaard and the veteran Aaron Mooy have joined them on loan and as a free agent respectively to succeed Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton. David Turnbull is now back in action overcoming his fitness problems, and his return has further jeopardized James McCarthy and Yosuke Ideguchi’s gametime at Parkhead.
Having said that, O’Riley is an assured starter for his all-round ability and the Bhoys must sign a quality alternative before accepting any offer for their prized asset. The player has maintained a great attitude and spirit in Celtic colours, and it remains to be seen how things shape up for him by the end of next month.