Matt O'Riley has already made his Celtic future mindset and focus clear
Ever since Matt O’Riley’s incredible start to life at Celtic, all the talk seems to be about when the midfielder will be on the move again.
After joining the Hoops in the January window earlier this year from MK Dons, the 21-year-old contributed massively to the Bhoys’ Scottish Premiership title success.
O’Riley quickly became a favourite in sections of the Parkhead support due to his brilliant technical ability in the middle of the park, which is a joy to watch within this attacking Celtic side.
After a full pre-season under his belt working with Ange Postecoglou in the summer, the midfielder appears to have come back even stronger this season.
The former Fulham man has been fulfilling a life-long dream of playing in the UEFA Champions League group stages against some of the best club sides the globe has to offer.
Not only is O’Riley producing at club level, though, but he is also showcasing his talents on the international stage whilst away with the Denmark under-21s side.
Of course, when a young player at Celtic can show his ability on the international, domestic and European stages, then clubs from across the continent are likely to be circling with transfer interest.
Particularly clubs in the English Premier League, with exports from Parkhead such as Virgil Van Dijk and Kieran Tierney, showing how big a success they can be south of the border.
Over the past few months, O’Riley has been linked to clubs in arguably the world’s biggest league, with the likes of Newcastle United and Leicester City reportedly watching the midfielder closely.
EPL sides may be watching O’Riley, but the midfielder has already showcased his mind is all on Celtic at the moment.
These aren’t just out there reports guessing that these clubs will be interested either. O’Riley himself has opened up and reflected in interviews on some of the sides who have enquired regarding his services.
However, one thing the midfielder has made clear in each one of those interviews is that he is really happy at Celtic, and that is where his mind is at amongst all of this interest.
From the day he arrived at Parkhead, it was clear to see the Danish under-21 international was a smart young player. It could be easy for someone at the age of 21 to have their head turned by the millions of pounds on offer in England.
But, O’Riley is focused on improving himself as a player and clearly recognises that at this moment in time, the best place to do that is at Celtic.
In previous interviews with bold.dk, he has said: “But while it’s great to know there’s a lot of interest in me, I’ve only got one thing on my mind, and that’s to do well for Celtic.
“I have no plans to leave Celtic, so if nothing happens, nothing happens, and that’s fine. I’m really happy to be at the club where we’re also going to play the Champions League, which I’m really looking forward to. It’s huge.
“I am aware and have heard about the interest from some of the big clubs, but I must admit that it is not something that I think about so much.”
In further interviews earlier this year, he also said: “I’ve heard a bit about the interest from Leicester, but it’s not something I’m thinking about right now. The transfer window is quite crazy with rumours and interest, but I am aware that Leicester quite like me.
“Right now, though, I think Celtic is a good place to be. I have good friends around me, my relationship with the coach is good, and the fans are very special. I feel that Celtic is the perfect place for me, but of course, it’s great to have interest because it means I’m playing well.”
Now, I’m not naive; I don’t think we have a man who will stay in Glasgow for five or six-plus years. There is no doubt in my mind that Matt O’Riley will go on to play in another huge league, whether that be in England or elsewhere in Europe.
However, I also don’t think O’Riley is the type of player/person who will jump at the first offer he receives south of the border.
Of course, those words can always come back to bite you, and every player at the club has their price, with clubs in the English Premier League easily able to pay that.
But, in my opinion, I believe with the attitude and mentality O’Riley has, there is a chance he turns down moves again in January, or maybe the summer, depending on different circumstances, to remain at Parkhead.
At this moment in time, anyway, he has made it clear his only focus is on life at Celtic and not reports linking him elsewhere, which will allow him to continue performing within Ange Postecoglou’s free-flowing Hoops side.