Atalanta zero in on Matt O'Riley as Europa League winners make their move for prized Celtic star

Europa League winners Atalanta are stepping up the chase and have made a proposal for prized Celtic star Matt O'Riley.

Record Sport revealed Southampton readied an offer of £20m plus incentives for the Dane but now Gian Piero Gasperini's side have entered the mix. O'Riley – who agonisingly missed out on a place in Denmark's squad for Euro 2024 – has earned admiring glances from across the continent with Inter and Atletico long-term admirers of the 23-year-old. And it's understood a formal offer has been lodged.

Saints boss Russell Martin is sweet on O'Riley, however, his former MK Dons manager faces a live fight to land a player he covets with Atalanta pressing ahead to bring O'Riley to Serie A. La Dea will return to the Champions League and their need for class in the engine room could be escalated with standout midfielder Teun Koopmeiners wanted by new Juventus boss Thiago Motta.

Celtic have O'Riley under contract until 2027 and the playmaker featured in Wednesday's madcap 6-4 friendly win over Queen's Park. But the Premiership champions' resistance is set to be tested with O'Riley previously admitting to being affected by Celtic rejecting a bid from Atleti back in January.

He said: “If I’m being completely honest, the first two or three games after the transfer window mentally it was a slight challenge because I felt somewhat of added pressure on my shoulders, just slightly. But then I realised I didn’t really know why I was putting extra pressure on myself. I didn’t really need to change anything. I kind of came away from that and focused on what I bring to the team. It clicked back into place again. Each season, regardless of it going well it will still pose a different challenge.