Telegraph report Leicester City interest in signing Matt O’Riley from Celtic

Matt O’Riley has only been at Celtic since January, but it’s fair to say the player has made a big impression already.

Since joining the Hops for a mere £1.5m from MK Dons in the last transfer window, O’Riley has caught the eye as a scorer of great goals and few simple ones, but also as a player who has the fans less worried about the impact of losing Tom Rogic from the playing squad.

Such impressive performances for Ange Postecoglou’s revolutionised side will undoubtedly lead to interest from elsewhere, and it appears Leicester City, the only club in the Premier League yet to make a signing this summer – as they have to sell players before they can buy – have O’Riley earmarked as a summer target, this according to a report in today’s Telegraph.

Brendan Rodgers was always going to keep a watchful eye on his former club and may well consider he’ll have an ‘in’ at the club when it comes to picking up our emerging target, yet when it comes to attracting O’Riley it is likely he’ll have to show a patience that extends well beyond this transfer window.

Celtic have already made it clear with no significant exits from the playing squad this season that they are backing Postecoglou’s second stage of his squad rebuild, and with O’Riley clearly an important part of that plan, it is very unlikely Celtic would be willing to sell a player they only purchased at the turn of the year.

And as the club did with rumoured interest in Josip Juranovic from Atletico Madrid, the message was sent out that silly money would have to be offered before Celtic would counter selling our top players. Matt O’Riley certainly falls into that category.

Leicester City are apparently in the market for two midfielders, and are likely to lose Youri Tielemans to Arsenal after the player went public with his desire to move to the North London club. With the Telegraph also reporting City face a current ‘logjam’ when it comes to purchasing new recruits, as the squad is bloated with players on hefty wages Rodgers considers surplus to requirements, but who’s moving on is needed before new players can be bought, it’s difficult to see Matt O’Riley moving to the East Midlands any time soon, whether he’s on a Brendan Rodgers shortlist or not.

Leicester’s interest in O’Riley alongside Atletico’s rumoured courting of Juranovic certainly shows Celtic’s recruitment is back on track now, perhaps due to no de facto director of football targeting players on anyone else’s behalf, but this improved recruitment needs to serve its purpose before Celtic decide to cash in. And after winning back the league last year, the defence of that title and now a tilt at Champions’ League Group stage football is the reason talented young players like Matt O’Riley were purchased.

Matt O’Riley of Celtic is congratulated by teammates Anthony Ralston and Liel Abada after scoring their team’s third goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park on May 07, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There will be a time Celtic would be willing to sell to clubs with deep pockets, none of us don’t realise the importance of a functioning player trading model to the club’s long-term strategy, but when it comes to Matt O’Riley now is not the time to sell. After all a couple of standout performances in the Champions League, coupled with the possibility of World Cup exposure with Denmark at Qatar 2022, will only raise the player’s profile further – and in turn his transfer fee.

Given all of that Brendan Rodgers may well have an eye on Matt O’Riley but it is likely he’ll have to bide his time if he wants his advances to be met positively by his former club – and that time is certainly not now.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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