Scottish champions Celtic are currently riding high following their brutal 9-0 thrashing of Dundee United away at Tannadice, with the Old Firm outfit continuing their remarkable 37-game unbeaten run in the league which stretches back to September 2021.
With five wins from five in the new season, it all appears to be running smoothly for manager Ange Postecoglou of late, with the Parkhead giants looking well placed to retain their league title.
That jubilant mood could well be somewhat dampened, however, amid reports that promising midfielder Matt O’Riley is attracting interest from clubs across Europe, with ESPN suggesting that Premier League duo Newcastle United and Leicester City are the most likely clubs to make an offer in the coming days.
While the report suggests that the Glasgow side are in no rush to sell the 21-year-old, it is believed that an offer of around £15m-£20m could well sway their thinking, as they face the prospect of losing a player who only joined on a £1.5m deal back in January.
Despite the obvious benefit of a major financial profit on the former MK Dons playmaker, any departure in the coming days could well be a sizeable blow to Postecoglou and co, particularly having already seen fellow midfielder Tom Rogic depart the club at the end of last season.
The Denmark U21 international has been tipped to be the successor to the Australian genius at Celtic Park, although supporters will no doubt be concerned by the player’s recent admission that there is a “lot of interest” in his services.
Having only arrived in Scotland during the winter window, the former Fulham youth product went on to make an instant impression in his new surroundings, scoring four goals and providing three assists in just 16 league games in the second half of last season.
The “intelligent” gem – as lauded by former boss Russell Martin – has carried that rich vein of form into the new season having laid on three assists in the opening five league games, two of which came in that thumping victory over the Tangerines on Sunday.
Not only would it be of huge concern to lose the London-born ace ahead of the start of the club’s Champions League voyage, seeing the midfielder depart so late in the day would also be of huge frustration, as it would leave little time to acquire a replacement.
While the Scottish Premiership side were able to acquire a £25m fee for the marauding left-back, the relatively late nature of the move left then-boss, Neil Lennon, with little time to respond, with the club eventually scrambling to secure the signing of Greg Taylor a few weeks later on deadline day.
Although the addition of the Scotland international has eventually paid off, it was far from ideal having to act in the market so late on, while business completed towards the climax of a window can often lead to inflated prices and wage demands.
Equally, after a rocky first few seasons where he became the target of boo-boys, it is perhaps not until now that Taylor has truly begun to earn to impress following a strong start to the new season – having been praised by teammate Jota – with the Tierney-sized void proving difficult to replace in the seasons following his exit.
That could well be the case with O’Riley, with the Hoops unlikely to have foreseen the £2.07m-rated ace attracting such vast interest so soon into his stint at the club, with that fact potentially ensuring that suitable alternatives or replacements have not yet been lined up.
It would no doubt be a source of frustration if another exciting talent is to be poached from Parkhead by a Premier League club, with Celtic simply needing to hold firm to hold off any interest.