FORMER Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers will have to pay “top dollar” if he hopes to lure Matt O’Riley to Leicester City.

That is the firm verdict from one-time Hoops goalscoring great John Hartson who rates the gifted 21-year-old midfielder in the £18million bracket.

O’Riley joined the Ange Postecoglou revolution in January in a £1.5million move from English third-tier outfit MK Dons – and has seen his value rocket with a string of eye-catching performances.

The Englishman has gained international recognition by being brought into the Under-21 squad of Denmark, homeland of his mother.

James Maddison, Rodgers’ top man in the middle of the park, has been linked with £50million interest from champions Manchester City this summer and there have been reports O’Riley is in his line of sights.

The smooth London-born Hoops operator, who is under contract at the champions until May 31 2026, has become a firm favourite with the fans and any approach for the youngster would not be welcomed.

Hartson said: “Matt O’Riley is massive to Ange Postecoglou in the new season as they try to compete for four trophies. You’ve seen what he has done for Celtic already.

“He’s different class now and only going to get better. He looks very happy, enjoying his football and he’s got Champions League.
“I would be very disappointed to see him go after such a short time at Celtic, but if the club feels he has to go I would hope they ask for top dollar.

“I see Maddison being quoted at £50million, but does that make Maddison 10 times more expensive than a player playing in the SPFL?”

Hartson, speaking to Go Radio, added: “I’m not saying O’Riley is £50million, but you would hope for £18million.

“We had the conversation a few years ago when we thought Brendan Rodgers would come in for Callum McGregor, but since then he has become captain and led them to more success.”

Celtic followers will hope O’Riley takes a similar route.

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