Celtic must heed Dewsbury-Hall’s worth when valuing Matt O’Riley

A couple of things I have read this week have got me thinking about the true valuation of Matt O’Riley and what the minimum amount of money Celtic should entertain when inevitable transfer bids are made this summer.

The first story that piqued my interest was the rumour that newly promoted Premier League side Southampton had approached Celtic with a bid of around £20m for our star midfielder. Now I have absolutely no idea if this story has any truth in it at all but either way it got me thinking.

Southampton are a club we know well. In the recent past they have successfully raided Celtic more than any other English team. They have taken four of our top players over the past ten years or so. They of course were Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster and Stuart Armstrong.

James Forrest is congratulated by Virgil van Dijk after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League match between Celtic and Ajax at Celtic Park  on October 22, 2013 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

It’s pretty safe to say that all four of these signings turned out well for The Saints. More than well I would say. Virgil van Dijk was sold to Liverpool for around six times the amount of money they spent on purchasing him from Celtic, making their club a huge profit. Wanyama, Forster and Armstrong all played for many years with the club and proved to be worth a lot more than Southampton paid Celtic to acquire their services.

Knowing the history of success that Southampton have had in their dealings with Celtic it’s easy to see why they would be interested in our newest star. Whether there is any truth in it or it’s just lazy journalism linking the two clubs once again I’m not entirely sure but if their interest does turn out to be genuine Celtic must not sell themselves short once again.

As I have already stated every single one of the players they signed from us proved good business. All four players were successful at the south coast club. If Celtic get around a negotiating table with Southampton once again, this time in regards to the sale of Matt O’Riley, we must make sure that we get what we deserve.

Over the years we have consistently sold off the family silver on the cheap. There are mitigating circumstances on this of course with the main one being that clubs in England think they can lowball Scottish clubs for their best players and get away with it, and they are right, they can. They have been doing it for as long as I can remember.

There have been positive signs recently however that indicate we have maybe learnt our lesson. We refused to budge on our evaluation of Kieran Tierney and Arsenal paid what we wanted. The same thing more recently with Jota (although he moved to Saudi Arabia not England of course). O’Riley must be the same. He’s on a long term contract. He isn’t agitating to get away. We hold all the cards.

 Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall of Leicester City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Leicester City at MKM Stadium on March 09, 2024 (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

This brings me on to the second thing that made me think about O’Riley’s valuation this week. I saw a report that Chelsea have paid Leicester City £30m for their midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. I didn’t know an awful lot about this player so had to do a bit of research. I thought he was some up and coming English star, their ‘next big thing’.

I was incorrect. Dewsbury-Hall is a 25 year old who has only really made his mark in the last couple of seasons. After loan spells at Blackpool and Luton he broke into the Leicester team, under current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, and had two seasons performing in the Premier League. It wasn’t until last year however that he really impressed as Leicester won the Championship and promotion back to the top tier.

In fairness his career is quite similar to Matt O’Riley’s. They both went into the lower leagues at a young age to make their mark before progressing at bigger clubs. They both are midfielders known for their goals and assists, although Matt O’Riley outshines him in both areas.

Matt O’Riley poses for a photo with the PlayStation Player Of The Match award after the draw in the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park on October 25, 2023 . (Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Our midfield star also has a lot more European experience with two full campaigns in the Champions League under his belt compared to Dewsbury-Hall only playing a couple of games in the Europa League. O’Riley also has international experience at both Under 21 level and full senior level with Denmark where Dewsbury-Hall has none.

All this would lead any right minded person to think that if Leicester can bag £30m for Dewsbury-Hall then Celtic should be making that amount the absolute minimum to open negotiations regarding O’Riley. We must remain steadfast on this one. We need to set a precedent that if you want our top players then you will pay the going rate.

Personally I would love to see O’Riley stay another year but if the player wants to try and progress his career elsewhere then it’s imperative that we show our days of being lowballed are in the past.

Conall McGinty

The Celtic best-seller
Visit Celtic Shorts today – we think you’ll like it!

About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!


  1. Totally agree, but when chelski are involved it always adds millions to there actual true worth?
    Man u had much of the same issues years ago also?
    Matt Oreily will move eventually more so for footballing reasons, ahead of the pay packet involved imo?
    Still think it’s highly unlikely that we can keep hold of Oreily this summer, but wouldn’t totally rule it out altogether just yet either?
    Should Oreily move on, then it will possibly be for the biggest fee we have ever received for a player, unless of course there is a release clause figure inserted within his last contract?
    Regardless, I still expect Rodgers to know what the current situation is regarding Oreily, and would be expecting our club to be acting accordingly, whatever that would be at present?
    Oreily was possibly our most influential player last season, that Rodgers gave the most game time to also?
    So Rodgers will want to be well prepared for what decision Oreily along with the club make regarding his future for next season?
    Regardless, there is still a squad place available for ourselves, weather Oreily stays or goes at present imo?
    So would regard this position as potentially just as high as the keeper and LB position getting resolved before the trip to the USA imo?

  2. Agreed on all points
    One to add, I am sure we are able to attract up & coming players with the understanding that we won’t stand in thier way of any perceived career progression. If we develop a rep for being difficult to deal with and thereby denying talent a move that they may find interesting, they may be less interested in coming here in the 1st place. Sell-on. clauses may be a sell now/pay later option but it’s been a win/win for us so far?

  3. The bidding should start at 30 million not a penny less and a 25% sell on clause.epl teams have paid far more for lesser players for years.norwich are valuing a championship reserve player at 5 -6 million.