Since a substantial investment in 2021, Atletico Madrid have been more reserved in the transfer market. This season, they concluded on Antoine Griezmann for €20m, the same sum they paid for Nahuel Molina a year earlier, but those two aside, the top figure they have paid for any one player was €6.5m.
They would need to break a barrier that has been in place a while to get Celtic to give an offer more than a cursory rejection. Matt O’Riley is good, but is he Griezmann+ ? We’ll see.
As you know well, the more important factor is that Celtic are nip and tuck in a title race (unlike Atletico), they signed Matt on a new long-term contract last year, they are one of Europe’s most financially stable clubs and have more prize money to play for this season than anyone would offer for Matt and Kyogo combined.
Given the above, Devil’s Advocate, why would you sell? Matt has picked up as our creative fulcrum from Reo Hatate, who held that title last season and is now fit after a lengthy absence. Everything else being equal, Paulo Bernardo will drop out when Reo is back in town, but Paulo has done an excellent job of backfill of late. So there is no panic in central mid.
The money coming in would need to be the material difference in acquiring for a gap elsewhere in the starting line-up. I don’t see this. The only real danger comes from the player himself.
We have heard that hoary old, “Don’t feel in the right frame of mind to play” line from a couple of central defenders and one striker in the past. It is not that common a tactic, but it is always disruptive. On the last occasion, Brendan stood his ground on deadline day morning, then hunted the player at lunchtime.
Matt is one of the good guys, I like him, there is no reason to suspect he would cause issues. But, he also has an unusual strength of character about him, which led him to walk out on professional football and start again from nothing, rather than stay at Fulham.
Let’s hope the storms don’t come back until next month, that weather would turn a saint.