Report: Celtic hold transfer interest in English League One standout defender

By John McGinley

June 20, 2021

Celtic hold a transfer interest in Oxford United defender Rob Atkinson, it is reported by The Sun on Sunday. [20/06 print edition, page 65]

Oxford have set a £1.6m asking price for the 22-year-old. English Championship side Bristol City are also keen on the player and would be ready to pay that kind of fee.

Atkinson is said to be keen on making a step up to a bigger club after missing out on promotion from League One last term.

The centre-half was a standout in that division, making 41 appearances in the regular season and playoffs.

He was subsequently named in the league’s team of the year alongside former Celtic favourite Aiden McGeady and striking transfer target Charlie Wyke.

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The youngster was delighted with the recognition, telling The Oxford Mail: “This time last year, I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be in the team of the season for League One. Personally, it’s quite an achievement.

“The start of the season was tough, there was the red card and the injuries. I’d never been sent off before and although it’s not great, it’s an experience and something I can learn from.

“With every game, I feel like I learn something – whether that’s from the coaching staff, my teammates or even the opposition strikers. Every game you come up against something different and it’s always a challenge, but one I relish.”

Rob Atkinson holds potential and could help Celtic problem position

Atkinson has had an interesting career path already despite his young age. Although born in Chesterfield, he actually spent most of his youth in France. He’s a product of the Cannes academy.

His first experience of football in England was with Basingstoke Town in the non-league part of the pyramid.

Celtic transfer targets Rob Atkinson and Charlie Wyke / (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It was there he caught the eye of Fulham, who swiftly snapped him up for a low fee of just £30,000. [Daily Echo] He worked under Peter Grant in the U23 side, playing regularly for the former Celtic midfielder.

Spells at Braintree Town and Eastleigh followed in the National League before Oxford United give him a big League One chance in 2020. He’s shown significant progress at the U’s and now looks destined to shine on a bigger stage.

Will it be at Celtic? Considering our problems in defence right now, we shouldn’t rule out the move.

In other news, Chris Sutton delivers verdict on Erik Sviatchenko Celtic rumours.