Fulham‘s failure to keep hold of Matt O’Riley looks to have been a disastrous decision, as the 21-year-old Celtic star is now reportedly wanted by a host of Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Leicester and Newcastle United.
O’Riley was a product of Fulham’s academy but would make just five appearances for the first team during his time with the Cottagers, so it was no surprise when he opted to leave the club on a free transfer in 2020.
MK Dons were the beneficiaries, as the young midfielder starred in their side for one and a half seasons, contributing ten goals and eight assists in 54 appearances before a move to Celtic.
He has gone from strength to strength during his brief time with the Bhoys, with four goals and three assists to his name thus far, while his overall performances have been enough to attract the interest of top Premier League sides.
According to ESPN, the Denmark U21 international is attracting significant interest from top-flight clubs, while Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg and Lille are also interested in O’Riley.
They suggest that while Celtic have no intention to sell the midfielder after less than 12 months in Glasgow, a bid of £20m could tempt them to sell this summer, which would represent a significant profit on the £1.5m they paid to sign him.
Considering he left Fulham for absolutely nothing, the club’s failure to offer such a talented youngster regular first-team football looks to have been a huge mistake by the Cottagers.
There is little doubt that O’Riley would have prospered in Fulham’s title-winning Championship side last season had he remained at the club, and he could have been a quality player for Marco Silva to have in his Premier League midfield.
O’Riley has started the new season where he left off with Celtic, averaging a strong 7.12 rating from WhoScored for his performances, which is only bettered by Bernd Leno and Aleksandar Mitrovic in Fulham’s squad.
Ross County boss Malky Mackay was full of praise for O’Riley last season, saying:
“The fact Celtic have gone and found O’Riley is a fantastic piece of business.
“He’s a wonderful young player. I even enjoy the fact he’s decided to go and play for Denmark, that he’s confident enough to throw his hat in there.”
Should he arrive in the Premier League and continue his upwards trajectory with a top-half club, then it will become even more evident that losing him for free was a rather shocking piece of business by Fulham.