Interest is high in Matt O’Riley, no bargain buy for Southampton this time

Interest is high in Matt O’Riley after his fantastic campaign with Celtic. Despite having a brilliant season, he was left out of Denmark’s squad for the Euro 2024 finals campaign, meaning that a move for the player is perhaps even more likely now.

One of the teams interested in the Celtic Player of the Year is Southampton, who have just been promoted back to the Premier League. Their manager, Russell Martin, worked with O’Riley at MK Dons and is keen to get the player back on his books. So the question is if the Dane will follow in the footsteps of players like Virgil Van Dijk and Stuart Armstrong to make a name for himself across the border.

The Saints aren’t the only team interested in his services as Atletico Madrid are apparently also keen on making a move. The Spanish side made a €20m bid for O’Riley during the January transfer window but it was swiftly rejected by Brendan Rodgers who wanted to keep his man on for the entire season. That bid also failed to meet Celtic’s valuation of the player and that has certainly not been reduced since the beginning of the year.

However Celtic is likely be open to selling their Player of the Year now that the campaign is over and Atletico are said to still ‘really like’ the Celtic star.

Celtic’s price for any transfer for Matt O’Riley at over £25m, a fee that would break the Scottish transfer record. According to the Scottish Sun today, Southampton are put off by the price tag and fear being bid out of the race for the midfielder’s signature.

Everton, Brighton and West Ham are just some of the teams who they may be competing with to get the transfer over the line, as well as teams from Italy.

Southampton got a massive bargain when they signed Virgil van Dijk from Celtic but this time around it’s going to be strictly market value if they are going to get anywhere near signing Matt O’Riley.

And the player himself might think that Atletico Madrid might be a better option than a likely relegation dogfight at the bottom of the Premier League with no European football. Maybe another season at Celtic – and another shot at impressing at Champions League level – might be the clever play for the midfielder who clearly loves playing his football at Celtic. It’s a better strategic play than going to Southampton.

Jessica Elliott

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I'm a student journalist and Celtic supporter. I'm delighted to have been recently appointed women's football writer for The Celtic Star, where the coverage of the Celtic FC Women's team has been incredible and unrivalled over the past three seasons.

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