As the fallout from Celtic’s Champions League loss to Lazio last night begins to settle, Brendan Rodgers’ team’s performance will undoubtedly be discussed for the rest of the week.
With four games remaining, a disappointing outcome keeps Celtic in last place in Group E. On a night with a few sparkling stars, it was a disappointing outcome.
Matt O’Riley was one of those shining stars, so it is understandable why clubs in England and elsewhere are taking notice of him.
Although Leeds United’s £10 million offer to capture the 22-year-old today appears pitiful, Celtic turned down the offer during the summer transfer window. It appears that Leeds United was genuinely anxious to sign the player.
Neil Lennon says Leeds were ‘really heavy’ on Matt O’Riley
Former Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, was doing his punditry work on Celtic’s Champions League tie against Lazio last night.
And in the pre-match build-up, Lennon revealed that he had spoken to someone at Leeds who confirmed they tried to get him this summer.
Lennon said [TNT Sports], “I think he’s had a great start to the season. He’s really blossomed. This is his third season now and every week, looking at him now, he’s always on the scoresheet.
“He was a target for a number of clubs and I was speaking to somebody at Leeds and they were really heavy on him.
“But now he’s on a long-term contract he’s settling down now. He’s playing at the highest level and we’re seeing the best of him now.”
Three reasons why it will cost Leeds more than £10m for O’Riley
Let’s get a fourth reason out of the way first. The guy is quality. And I mean genuine quality. For two seasons he has been central to Celtic’s successes and already, this season, he has taken his game to another level.
However, the first reason is that he can mix it with Europe’s elite. Following on from brilliant showings in Ange Postecoglou’s first foray into the Champions League last year, O’Riley proved again last night just how valuable he is to Celtic with an accomplished performance against Lazio.
And that pass to Kyogo Furuhashi for the goal. It was just sublime.
The second is that he is now seriously wanted by not one, but two national sides. TBR Celtic told last week how Denmark and Norway are getting set to slug it out for O’Riley and, after last night’s performance against the Italians, I have no doubt he will have the pick of either of them.
And thirdly, at just 22-years-old, O’Riley still has a lot of developing to do. If he is this good now, any interested club is still buying a player who has not reached their potential. He is likely to get better and better the older he gets.
So, Leeds, if you want O’Riley, it’s going to take a helluva lot more than £10m to get this rising star of European football.
In other news, ‘Strongly disagree’: Stan Petrov was seriously unhappy at Brendan Rodgers’ pre-match Celtic comments