21 May 2024

Matt O’Riley sale would bring Celtic a very good chunk of money – Johan Mjallby

21 May 2024

Johan Mjallby expects Celtic to get “a very good chunk of money” if they decide to cash in on Matt O’Riley.

The 23-year-old Denmark midfielder has been linked with a string of European clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Brighton.

O’Riley, who joined from MK Dons in January 2022, is contracted to the Hoops until 2027 and the recently-crowned champions are unlikely to sell for less than the record Scottish transfer fee of £25million they received from Arsenal for Kieran Tierney in 2019.

“He’s been immense for the last two seasons, he’s got a great left foot and a lot of energy and he pops up with a lot of goals,” former Celtic defender Mjallby said as he helped promote this Saturday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final between his former club and Rangers. “It’s not a surprise that there’s interest in him from elsewhere.

“As a Celtic supporter I’d rather see him stay because he’s been so good but I think it’s natural that if you do well for Celtic or Rangers, there is always going to be interest from elsewhere – not only from down south but also from European clubs.

“I’d prefer if they stay at Celtic so they can improve even more but if they decide to sell him, I’d expect a very good chunk of money to Celtic.”

Mjallby played for Celtic in the last Old Firm Scottish Cup final in 2002, a match the Light Blues won 3-2. He expects another tight affair this time around but feels his old club have the edge going into it.

“Celtic probably have more of the momentum coming into the final,” he said. “They had a wee wobble earlier in the season but the last two months they’ve really hit top form and when it mattered they played their best football, just to prove they are true champions.

“Psychologically Celtic have the edge over Rangers, no question about that, but this is a one-off game so it’s going to be a wee bit different. They should come into the final with a lot of confidence, they’ve won the league and seemed to hit their top form.

“I personally think they have more match-winners than Rangers. But you can’t disregard Rangers because they had a golden opportunity to put a lot of pressure on earlier in the season. The gap is not enormous but at the moment it (the advantage) should be for Celtic.”

Mjallby expects Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers – who won every domestic trophy he contested – to be hungry to add another piece of silverware to his CV this weekend.

“We shouldn’t question at all if Brendan Rodgers is a good manager or not,” said the 53-year-old Swede. “You probably have to live on another planet to think that he wouldn’t be a good manager. His track record speaks for itself.

“I was really happy to see him coming back, especially with the way he wants his team to play, because he’s very similar to Ange Postecoglou in terms of being attack-minded. You can pinpoint small differences between them, yes. But it was an easy transition for Celtic to bring Brendan back.

“He wins trophies, which is what you’re supposed to do as Celtic manager. The priority was the league and now they’ve got a chance to get a bonus trophy. He will want to finish the season off in style.”

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