West Bromwich Albion have made a late offer in a bid to secure a deal to bring Matt O’Riley to The Hawthorns in the January transfer window.
That’s according to a report by the Daily Record, who claim that Valerien Ismael’s Albion side have attempted to hijack Celtic’s move for the Milton Keynes Dons central midfielder with an 11th-hour bid for the 21-year-old.
However, the report goes on to state that, at present, it appears as if the former England U18 international is still set to make a £1.5m switch to Glasgow, with O’Riley having already undergone a medical with the Premiership side on Wednesday.
Finally, it is also believed that the likes of Swansea City, Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town were also keen on a move for the midfielder, although it would appear as if West Brom and Celtic are the only two sides who lodged a concrete bid.
While, at this stage, it seems as if a move to West Brom does not look overly likely, considering just how impressive O’Riley has been for MK Dons this season, it would appear highly advisable for Ismael to return with an improved offer in a bid to steal the 21-year-old away from Celtic’s clutches.
Indeed, over his 26 League One outings in the current campaign, the £405k-rated man has been in astonishing form, having already bagged seven goals, provided five assists and created seven big chances for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 2.1 key passes and taking 1.5 shots per game.
The £900-per-week midfielder – who is also adept at playing in both a more defensive and attacking midfield role – has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.5 interceptions, two tackles, 48.2 passes, one clearance and winning 4.6 duels per fixture.
These returns have seen the player who FLW founder Sam Rourke dubbed a “star” average a quite incredible SofaScore match rating of 7.37, not only ranking him as his club’s second-best performer in the league but also as the joint seventh-best player in the entirety of the division.
The editor then went on to heap a great deal more praise on the midfielder, stating in a post on Twitter: “[He is an] elegant central attacking midfielder who is comfortable with both feet. Seven goals, five assists in L1 so far. Strong dribbling ability with a real eye for a killer pass. Not afraid to shoot from distance too.”
Indeed, this description could quite easily fit one of Albion’s current options in the middle of the park, Alex Mowatt, who scored eight goals, registered seven assists and created nine big chances over his 44 Championship appearances for Barnsley last season, as well as making an average of 1.5 key passes and taking 1.8 shots per fixture.
As such, should Ismael manage to somehow get a deal over the line for O’Riley this month, the Frenchman could well have landed his next Mowatt, not to mention a significant upgrade on a number of the Baggies’ current central midfield options.