Manchester United interested in Celtic's Matt O'Riley

Manchester United are among the host of clubs who want to sign highly-rated young Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley.

ESPN claim that United could have to battle Liverpool and Arsenal among other clubs at home and abroad for the 21-year-old.

After a summer chasing Frenkie de Jong despite it being increasingly clear that he does not want to join and would cost too much given Barcelona’s financial situation, O’Riley would be more attainable.

O’Riley could cost £15 million, with Celtic potentially tempted to sell at that price despite being in this season’s Champions League.

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Manchester United want O’Riley

Erik ten Hag has a reputation for bringing through young talent, although if we did get O’Riley, it would raise questions about James Garner.

Garner is seemingly up for sale for a fee in the region of £14 million, so in theory the pair could be exchanged with United only making a small net spend.

But is that worth doing? Would it not be worth Garner being given a chance? That said, it seems United’s interest is not that advanced at this stage.

Newcastle and Leicester are apparently the most likely English sides to bid for O’Riley at this stage of the transfer window, with just days remaining.

So what kind of player is O’Riley? Over to Russell Martin, manager of Swansea, who had United prospect Ethan Laird on loan last season, who said: “Physically, he’s fantastic, He was a pressing machine, scored a few goals, got some assists and could play deeper or higher,” after managing him at MK Dons.

“He played higher up for us most of the time because that was his preference. He ended up deeper this season but still got goals. He can do pretty much everything. He has good vision, he’s a good athlete and is an extremely articulate boy. He’s one of the most intelligent footballers I’ve ever worked with.”

“I’m convinced he’ll go on to play at the very top, but a huge part of his journey now is playing at a club as big as Celtic. Playing in Europe and all that, I don’t think any of that will faze him. I’m gutted we couldn’t get him, but I’m really pleased for him. MK have done brilliantly out of it, in terms of an investment over a year.

“He’s one of a number we brought in with no or very little money and sold for massive profit. Celtic have done brilliantly out of it too. His value as an asset and a financial investment makes it a no-brainer. He’ll be worth a lot more in a very short period of time,” he added.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.