Danish outlet reveals details of Atlético Madrid’s attempt to sign Matt O’Riley

Our colleagues at respected Danish outlet Tipsbladet have this morning provided The Celtic Star with details of the Atlético Madrid approach for Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley and the proposal that the Spanish side submitted to Celtic for £18m. This deal the Danish site confirms was rejected as Celtic were looking for a minimum transfer price of £25m and on learning this information Atlético did not respond with a further bid.

You have to wonder what would have happened had they met the alleged asking price to take the player in January, leaving Celtic with yet more funds coming in (it was initially a loan deal with an obligation to buy in the summer) but with no-one it seems available to sign other that Nicolas Kuhn and loan signing Adam Idah.

Tipsbladet which is a weekly Danish sports magazine focusing on football. It the oldest football magazine in Scandinavia and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Our friends at this Danish outlet regularly keep The Celtic Star updated on Celtic related news coming out of Denmark and this morning sent us their exclusive article  with permission to use on The Celtic Star.

A quick run through Google Translate provides us with enough clarity on what the story is all about, so read for yourselves with Jacob Quvang reporting…

Celtic’s Danish midfielder #33 Matthew O’Riley and Lazio’s Albanian defender #23 Elseid Hisaj vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Celtic and Lazio at Celtic Park  on October 4, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Gigantisk Atlético Madrid-bud på Matt O’Riley

If it had been up to legendary coach Diego Simeone, Matt O’Riley would have been strutting around in an Atlético Madrid shirt by now. But the Scottish club Celtic put an end to the biggest deal a Danish player was involved in in the transfer window in January. Tipsbladet can thus reveal that the Spanish big club approached Celtic with a gigantic offer, which should end up as a purchase of the midfield star.

According to Tipsbladet’s information, the bid included that Atlético Madrid had to hire Matt O’Riley in the spring in order to commit to buying him on a free transfer this summer for 18 million pounds – 156 million kroner.

Feyenoord’s Lutsharel Geertruida (L) vies with Celtic’s Matthew O’Riley (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Feyenoord and Celtic FC at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam on September 19, 2023. (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

But it did not happen. Why? That Celtic has valued Matt O’Riley much higher and therefore rejected the bid with a demand that they would only sell the 23-year-old profile for £25 million, which is 217 million kroner, which Atlético Madrid, according to Tipsbladet’s sources, did not respond to.

The Scottish Champions were thus addressed that the midfielder, who in Celtic is used in several positions in the midfield such as sixes, eights and 10s, is an incredibly important figure for the club, which has used the engine for just over 3,000 minutes in this season’s 35 matches.

That brings Matt O’Riley up as the most playing midfielder among the Danish national team players.

Matt O’Riley of Celtic 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 Stadium on October 25, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

With the help of Opta, Tipsbladet has collected data on Matt O’Riley and compared him with the Danish midfielders with whom he competes for a place in the Danish national team. The figures are exclusively taken from league matches this season and show the Danes’ stats per 90 minutes to give the most accurate picture.

They conclude that O’Riley is the player who makes the most goals and assists, has the most shots, creates the most chances, attempts the second most dribbles, but in turn succeeds in the most of them per game. In addition, he has the second most touches per match and takes the most free kicks.

Praise from Wieghorst

July 1996: Morten Wieghorst of Celtic football club taken during the team photocall.

Matt O’Riley has taken his career from low to high gear in the last few years and it was not more than two years ago that he was playing for League One club MK Dons but then he moved to Celtic and since then he has didn’t look back.

The success under Brendan Rodgers, who at the end of September rewarded Matt O’Riley with a new contract, resulted in the autumn with the national team debut for Denmark, and assistant coach Morten Wieghorst explained a few days ago about the path to the Danish national team for the player, who has a Danish mother and an English father.

It involved Brøndby’s head coach Jesper Sørensen, who was then U21 national team coach.

Matt O’Riley of Celtic celebrates scoring his team’s opening goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Hearts and Celtic FC at Tynecastle on October 22, 2023 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

– We saw a match against Bodø/Glimt, a European match. We spoke to Matt the day after the game. And it turned out that he was very motivated and interested in playing for Denmark. At first he was selected for the U21 national team, but we could tell right away that he was a good guy. A very ambitious footballer who wants to develop, so of course we continued to follow his development, says Morten Wieghorst, who himself played for Celtic from 1995 to 2002.

Here, 22 years later, a new Danish midfield profile has taken the club by storm.

And he could have been sold to the Spanish big club Atlético Madrid for a staggering DKK 156 million a few weeks ago, but the bid was rejected because Celtic want much more for Matt O’Riley.

So make of that what you will folks.


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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

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