Celtic have been dealt a further blow in their bid to bring Riley McGree to Parkhead in the January transfer window.
That’s according to a claim made by Anthony Joseph, with the Sky Sports journalist revealing in a post on Twitter that, after talks between the Charlotte FC midfielder and Celtic had broken down regarding personal terms, the 23-year-old is now close to agreeing a deal with Championship side Middlesbrough – with his switch to the Riverside Stadium expected to be completed this week.
In his tweet, Joseph said: “UPDATE: Middlesbrough are closing in on the signing of Charlotte FC midfielder Riley McGree for £2.5m, plus add-ons. Deal expected to be completed this week. As reported last night, talks between the player and Celtic had stalled.”
Considering just how impressive McGree had been while on loan at Birmingham City in the first half of this season, in addition to the fact that Ange Postecoglou was clearly extremely keen on securing a deal for the versatile central midfielder, the news that Middlesbrough look to have beaten the Bhoys to the Australia international’s signature is sure to have left the 56-year-old manager fuming.
Indeed, it was previously reported that, due to his level of interest in the signing of McGree, Postecoglou was personally involved in the negotiations with the midfielder – who the Celtic manager had previously called up to the national side during his time in charge of Australia.
And, it is not difficult to see why the Greek-Australian coach was so keen to secure a deal for the £540k-rated man this month.
Over his 13 Championship appearances in the current campaign, the 23-year-old scored two goals, registered two assists and created three big chances for his teammates, as well as making an average of 1.4 key passes, 1.3 interceptions, 1.2 tackles, 22 passes and winning 4.8 duels per game.
As such, it is clear to see that McGree would have made a fantastic addition to Postecoglou’s current options in the middle of the park, as well as why missing out on the Charlotte FC star will come as a huge blow to the 56-year-old manager and his side.