Matt O’Riley is expected to be unveiled by Celtic shortly after passing a medical at Parkhead.
The MK Dons man has agreed to a life-changing move that will change Parkhead’s life – costing the Hoops just £1.5million in the process.
Ange Postecoglou’s men are believed to have beaten West Brom and European opposition to his signature – the 21-year-old having played in Ligue 1 for the past two years.
The imposing midfielder came through the ranks at Fulham before his move to the Dons, but what do we know about his style of play?
In an effort to shed light on O’Riley’s style and personality, soccer scotland decided it was best to speak to someone in the know, who has seen him grow in English football.
Sam Rourke, the editor of Football League World, has agreed to give us the details on the player and – spoiler alert – he rates him highly.
What can Celtic fans expect from O’Riley and what type of midfielder is he?
“He’s a very impressive attacking midfielder who has really shone in Ligue 1 this season, seven goals and five assists so far for MK Dons.
“He’s been a real standout player. Very left-footed, he has a real eye for a killer pass in the final third and takes really smart positions in the final third.
“We often see him drifting to the right. Because he’s so good with his left foot, he often cuts inside looking for that last ball for MK Dons forwards.
“Impressive passing skills, arguably one of his most notable attributes, his ability to spray long diagonal balls down the pitch.
“In tight areas he’s also adept at short passing… He also likes to shoot, he’s not afraid to shoot. We’ve seen a handful of goals this season, where his anticipation of shooting on goal has gone down. demarcated.
“He reminds me a bit of Ryan Christie in the way he operates, obviously a former Celtic player, quite left-handed in the way he plays and smart in his attacking production.
“I think Celtic fans are going to really like what they see. He’s such a smart player and sometimes you forget he’s only 21.
“He’s a real mature head that only goes one way, I think.”
He came through the ranks at Fulham, before joining MK Dons – why didn’t it work out for him at Fulham and how good was he for MK Dons?
“He came through the Fulham academy system and made his debut against Reading in 2020.
“But he actually rejected a three-year offer from Fulham but decided to pursue other options.
“Fulham have a multitude of midfielders in that area, it was always going to be difficult for O’Riley, especially at this young age, to break into the team.
“The switch to MK Dons suited him perfectly – under Russell Martin, who has a really appealing attacking mix of football, it really suited Matt O’Riley’s style of play.
“A big part of the way MK Dons plays is to keep possession and play in the thirds, and that really suited him, so if that’s how Ange Postecoglou likes to play at Celtic, you imagine he will fit in perfectly.”
Naturally, some will be tempted to draw comparisons with Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, who started out at MK Dons – can we draw comparisons?
“Potentially. I can see the connection. Matt O’Riley is a bit more of an all-around player than Dele Alli.
“I’m a huge fan of Matt O’Riley’s eye for a killer pass. Just look at some of the assists he’s produced this season, it seems like he’s on a higher level than the past. ‘opposition.
“He’s not afraid to do things other players might not do, so I can see the comparisons for sure.
“It’s also worth noting that O’Riley is also adept at defensive acumen.
“Some of the fetch runs he’s done this season to get the ball back and recycle it for MK Dons and get them up the pitch also stand out.
“I can see the comparisons but I think they are a bit different in terms of styling.”
The suggested fee is £1.5m – you described this as a bargain, can you tell us more?
“As I understand there was a release clause in his contract at MK Dons and I was actually told that the release clause was due to expire tomorrow, this Friday, which is why Celtic acted at this stage to make the deal. That’s what I was told.
“It’s a fantastic price for Celtic, it’s such a low price for a player who has a very high ceiling.
“He has shown this season in Ligue 1 how essential he can be for MK Dons.
“He’s only 21 and the kind of performances he puts out every week, he’s been so consistent, so for £1.5m it’s a complete and utter steal.”
Would you expect him to be a success at Celtic?
“I’ve seen enough of Matt O’Riley this season to make me think he would fit into almost any team in the English Premier League.
“I see a Premier League player in him, really. I just think the technical ability he has, the way he’s able to find passes that other players don’t and also his ability to score goals from a little further in. midfield position.
“Celtic fans will really like what they get from Matt O’Riley.”
Celtic are a huge club – can they make the move?
“Let’s be honest, it’s a stark contrast to playing with MK Dons in Ligue 1, where you’re in a stadium where you would struggle to attract 10,000 fans.
“At Celtic he’s a completely different beast. There will be an adjustment period but he’s a player who really believes in his abilities.
“So from what I’ve seen of him and what I’m hearing about him, I think he has the ability to thrive at Celtic.
“He’s been at a club like Fulham, who’s been in the Premier League. He might be used to being at a bigger club, but Celtic are a different beast.
“There is going to be a period of adaptation, but I really feel that he believes in his abilities.”
He has a few options on the international scene – don’t he?
“He can play for Denmark, Norway and England, so he has particular options.
“I see it potentially, if it continues on the same upward trajectory, Gareth Southgate would be foolish not to take a look.
“Definitely playing for Celtic, where the spotlight and spotlight will be increased on him.
“I certainly think, from what I’ve seen of him, there’s definitely potential in England.”