Celtic could break transfer fee record with Matt O’Riley

Is Matt O’Riley the next Celtic star to be transferred to a bigger league for a record transfer fee?

Since joining Celtic on January 20, 2022, London-born, Danish international central midfielder Matt O’Riley has been a key player and this season under Brendan Rodgers’ guidance he has improved significantly in terms of his goalscoring and assists and last night made his full international debut for Denmark against Northern Ireland.

O’Riley left Milton Keynes Dons and joined the current reigning Scottish Champions, for  a reported fee of £1.5million after Celtic met his release clause. And at the end of September 2023 O’Riley put pen to paper on a new Celtic contract that will see him remain at Celtic until summer 2027, unless of course there’s a bid that Celtic will accept.

There is no doubt that Matt O’Riley’s stunning performances since arriving at Celtic have put several big clubs on high alert, and they will be hoping to prize him away from Celtic. And breaking into the Denmark national side also adds to the midfielder’s status and ultimately will allow Celtic to raise the bar if or when they consider to transfer valuations.

It has to be remembered that Celtic’s business model includes the development of players and the subsequent sale for significant profit and that’s a model that has served the club very well indeed in recent times.

So is  Matt O’Riley the next Celtic star to receive a transfer to a bigger league and giving Celtic a £20m plus profit on the deal? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Is Matt O’Riley likely to leave Celtic to play in a bigger league?

Yes, is the short answer and most Celtic supporters reluctantly have accepted this situation as a reality for the club, playing in the Scottish Premiership. It must be remembered that O’Riley, who turned 23 today, has gone from playing in League One, the third tier in English football, to playing against the likes of Real Madrid, RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Feyenoord in the Champions League group stages and during his time at Celtic he’s broken into the Danish Under 21s before going on to make his full international debut.

O’Riley has jumped a level or three in his time at Celtic and in doing so his agent would be doing a very bad job indeed if he didn’t upgrade the list of potential suitors, effectively ruling out most if not all the club that perhaps wanted to entice him away from Celtic previously.

For example Celtic reportedly turned down a £10 million bid in the summer from English Championship side Leeds United for the then Danish under-21 international, and that the Yorkshire side would appear to have topped the list of potential suitors ahead of this season – and they were unsuccessful.

This season Matt O’Riley has added goals to his assists and is already the Scottish Premier League player’s joint top goalscorer.

The top goal scorers in the Scottish Premiership so far with 6 goals are the following players:

● Matt O’Riley (Celtic)
● David Turnbull (Celtic)
● James Tavernier (penalties,  plays for theRangers and they’re averaging two a game at the moment!)
● Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic)

You then have Kyle Vassell, and Lawrence Shankland, who are both on four goals, and there are six different players, all with four goals in the Scottish Premiership.

What would Celtic’s likely valuation be for Matt O’Riley?

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano recently tweeted about Matt O’Riley’s impressive stats this season and had this to say about any potential transfer from Celtic.

“Celtic, in a strong position as they just renewed his contract one month ago — it’d be a Scottish record transfer fee for any club interested,” Fabrizio Romano 

Some have suggested a £30 million price tag is more realistic and that was before he made his international debut for Denmark. Celtic’s record fee so far has been the £25m from the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal and the more recent transfer of Jota for the same fee in the summer to Saudi Arabia Pro League club Al-Ittihad.

Celtic’s absolute minimum price would there be at least £25m for Matt O’Riley and the recent contract extension, protects the club’s valuation considerably. Over the course of this international break there have even been rumours that Matt O’Riley may leave as soon as next year (perhaps in the summer transfer window 2024). We will just have to wait and see but that will only happen if the price is right for Celtic.

One final point on this. Matt O’Riley has repeated stated that he loves playing for Celtic so it’s going to take plenty to make him want to leave and the Jota example in the Gulf demonstrates that it’s not just about the money. Matt O’Riley will be well aware of this.

So which clubs would Matt O’Riley go to?

It’s all just speculation at the moment, but if O’Riley is to leave Celtic next year he’ll want to go to a top club, playing in one of the big leagues in Europe, one which is in the mix for domestic honours and will be playing regularly in preferably the Champions League, but at least Europa League level.

You can probably forget Leeds United – even if the can afford the £25-30 million price tag, and get promoted back to the Premier League (they are currently 8 points behind both Leicester City and Ipswich Town in third place).

A move to a club in the Saudi Pro League is more than likely a non-starter after what’s happened with Jota over there, and while several English Premier League sides have been mentioned together with numerous English Championship sides, none really fit the bill.

Matt O’Riley and Lazio defender Elseid Hisaj vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Celtic and Lazio at Celtic Park on October 4, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

These clubs with O’Riley on their radar aren’t yet the big hitters. Leeds aren’t yet a Premier League side. People who use Bet365 promo codes in UK and look for outright odds on the sportsbook will see that United are among the favourites for promotion, though – fighting Ipswich and Leicester for the automatic promotion spots.

Could O’Riley aim higher, though? Afterall, Daniel Farke’s Norwich struggled in the Premier League, and if O’Riley were to join them, he may be in for a season-long survival scrap in a defence-first team, as opposed to the free-flowing attacking Celtic side he’s in now. The answer to that one would be a resounding no.

Serie A side Bologna have also showed great interest, and they are currently one of the brightest spots in Italian football, playing front-footed possession football under Thiago Motta. This project, with a squad that’s got its rhythm, flow, and identity, might be a more appealing option for the Danish international but again he may be looking for more.

Ange Postecoglou Manager of Tottenham Hotspur after the Premier League match between Luton Town and Tottenham Hotspur at Kenilworth Road, Luton, England on 7 October 2023. Photo DavidxHorn PMI

The marriage made in Heaven for Matt O’Riley could be a re-union with his former Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham. Spurs are competitive under Ange who won the first three Premier League manager of the month at Spurs but he’s only just getting started. An with an injury crisis emerging in recent weeks you would think that Daniel Levy chequebook will be busy in the January window.

Final note

Matt O’Riley has also played for MK Dons in League One and for Championship side Fulham. However, when playing for Fulham, he was more of an Academy/U21 player and declined a three-year first-team deal when there was interest from several domestic clubs at home and abroad, so he’s unlikely to go back to Fulham.

Matt O’Riley, Callum McGregor and Greg Taylor with the League Cup

When playing for MK Dons, he spent just twelve months at the club before moving to Celtic. He is one of the best players in the Scottish Premiership right now, and if the price is right, there’s a good chance he will move to a bigger league, especially if the right club comes knocking with enough money.  Celtic will be in no hurry to sell so any January deal would involve a premium price that Celtic simply couldn’t turn down. And that’s where the £30m figure comes into play.

The Celtic support would prefer Matt O’Riley to stay at the club for another season after this one but in football money talks.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. In my opinion he’s already in the40 million plus mark,when you look at some of the epl cr*pthat have cost way over that,sick of CELTIC giving in and selling cheap in the past.

  2. I agrée PCELT.
    However, I believe that we should be holding on to class players like O’Reilly. Celtic will never move on to the next level if they simply develop players for sale. The model should develop some players for sale PLUS develop some to keep and take us to the next stage.This process could be repeated once we reach the next stage. It is like climbing stairs.