Celtic braced for Matt O'Riley transfer bid that could smash record fee as Southampton prepare £20m offer with incentives

Southampton are ready to make a £20million summer bid for Celtic midfield star Matt O’Riley.

The English Premier League new boys are set to make the huge bid, with future add-ons included that would potentially take the deal past Celtic’s record sales in the region of £25m for Kieran Tierney and Jota. The Parkhead outfit would stand to get the further payments if Southampton were to remain in the top flight, and depending on future successes for the club and O’Riley.

Saints boss Russell Martin is a big fan of the midfielder, having worked with him at MK Dons. Since then, O’Riley has moved north and blossomed into one of Celtic’s key players. Southampton won’t pay over the odds because of financial fair play constraints as Martin looks to build a squad that will make them competitive in the English Premiership. The Danish international was a stand-out for the Hoops as they lifted the double last season.

He signed a new deal in October and has already attracted some major interest. Spanish giants Atletico Madrid made a move in January but the loan-to-buy deal was turned down. Italian side Inter have also been long-term admirers and there are a number of other clubs who are watching his situation closely.

O’Riley was disappointed to miss out on the Denmark squad for Euro 2024, which they exited at the weekend after losing 2-0 to hosts Germany. Meanwhile, Belgium club side Genk are in talks to sign South Korean Oh Hyeon-gyu, and fellow Hoops fringe player Sead Haksabanovic has gone to Malmo.

Celtic are working on a number of fronts to try to strengthen Brendan Rodgers’ squad. A goalkeeper remains a priority with Sparta Prague’s Peter Vindahl Jensen amongst the names being considered.

But youngster Rocco Vata hasn’t returned to pre-season with Celtic. The Republic of Ireland Under-21 winger is now out-of-contract and didn’t report back with his team-mates last week.

Vata remains in Scotland but is waiting to sort out his future. Watford are among several clubs who are interested. Celtic made a long-term offer but Vata has turned it down and it remains to be seen if the club will reconsider the terms.