Russell Martin discloses Premier League interest in Celtic's Matt O'Riley back in 2021

By Hamish Carton

May 25, 2023

Matt O’Riley’s former manager Russell Martin has revealed that there was Premier League interest in the midfielder back in 2021.

Prior to his days at Celtic, O’Riley found himself in a tricky position as the world shut down following the Covid-19 outbreak.

He made the courageous decision to leave Fulham, where he had been since he was a kid, and go in search of regular football.

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

“I got a call from an agent telling me he needed somewhere to train,” said Martin, who was MK Dons boss at the time, recently to Sky Sports.

“I was aware of him, but that he’d been at a higher level and was on the radar of clubs like Dortmund.

“After a few weeks, it was Matt who came to me and said ‘I really like the way Dons play, can we do something?

“He had the likes of Burnley and Southampton looking at him. Pete Winkleman the chairman was really good to be fair and we gave him a contract.

“Myself and my staff left for Swansea and we tried to bring him there. It was a very sad moment for me when the deal we tried to do fell down, but then he went to Celtic and he’s just kept on progressing – and I’m not surprised.”

O’Riley was announced as a permanent MK Dons player in January 2021 (MK Dons), a year before his move to Scotland.

Burnley and Southampton were both Premier League clubs at that stage, so he was being monitored by some of the top clubs.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Former Scotland defender Martin is actually set to become the new Southampton boss (Guardian) and he’d surely be interested in moving for O’Riley again.

Thankfully for us, they’ll be in the Championship next season, and not the Champions League.

O’Riley has proven to be a good signing for Celtic, but you sense there is even more to come from him.

Hopefully we can see it in the final games of this season and after the summer.

In other news, Ronny Deila is the new manager of Club Brugge