Newcastle United are reportedly keeping a close watch on Celtic’s creative midfielder Matt O’Riley following his impressive form since moving to Parkhead.
Newcastle United have apparently sent scouts to watch Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley during the international break. That’s according to Football Scotland, which claims the Magpies were among a host of top clubs in attendance for the Under-21 Euro qualifier between Denmark and Croatia as they continue to monitor the 21-year-old’s talents.
And it seems the Celtic midfielder did not disappoint his suitors as O’Riley got on the scoresheet with a well-taken goal, but the Danes were eventually beaten on penalties by Croatia.
A Fulham youth academy graduate, O’Riley arrived at Celtic in January for just £1.5 million from League One side MK Dons after the club met his release clause. Since joining the Bhoys, the 21-year-old has contributed four goals and seven assists in 27 appearances across all competitions.
This form has put him on the watchlist of a host of top European clubs, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Borussia Dortmund all keeping tabs on his progress. However, it is cash-rich Newcastle United who are keeping a close eye on him and could make a move for the central midfielder in the coming transfer window.
The Magpies were on the lookout for a creative midfield player last summer, and that will likely be the case again in the upcoming window after they were priced out of a move for priority target James Maddison.
O’Riley would certainly fit the bill and could represent a cheaper option if Leicester refuses to budge once again in January, with the Foxes likely well-and-truly in a relegation mire this season.
The 6ft 2in midfielder is primarily left-footed, although he can also play with his right, making it tough for opponent defenders to read his passes. The Denmark youth international has an eye for goal and can find creative passing options.
While his goal contributions are improving, his major weapon is to create the pass before the assist that leads to the goal. The only downside to his game could be his lack of speed, but his intelligent game-reading and passing ability compensate for that. Aged just 21, he still has plenty of scope to further develop and improve his attributes.
The only issue for the Toon is that O’Riley’s progress has been rapid and his profile could skyrocket if he impresses in the Champions League group stages for Celtic.
Newcastle United have already snapped up highly-coveted teenage Aussie talent Garang Kuol under the noses of European big guns. The 18-year-old has arrived from Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners and will be immediately sent out for a development loan spell once his signing is officially completed in January.
It demonstrates that the Tyneside club are planning for the future, and O’Riley falls into the same bracket of talents who have the potential to grow with the club.
The youngster is contracted at Parkhead until the summer of 2026 but could be available for around £15-20 million as per previous reports. Whether Newcastle United will act upon their interest in the 21-year-old playmaker in the upcoming winter transfer window remains to be seen.