It’s hard to imagine a player better suited to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal than Matt O’Riley. U21 Denmark international has been on Arsenal’s radar since he was a baby-faced 16-year-old honing his enviable and wide-ranging skillset down the road at Fulham.
His masterful displays north of the border are not going unnoticed either. Matt only joined Celtic in a £1.5m deal from third-tier MK Dons in winter. Since then, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Man United, Newcastle, Leicester City, Wolfsburg, Lille and, yes, the Gunners have kept a keen eye on O’Riley.
Celtic value the 21-year-old midfielder in the £20m bracket. That sumptuous display in Saturday’s 4-0 Old Firm thumping of Rangers, the Danish midfielder setting a rhythmic drumbeat and orchestrating proceedings from his number eight role, will surely have added another couple of million onto his already rapidly-rising price tag.
Odegaard has started every one of Arsenal’s PL matches since November 2021. If the Spanish manager’s influential skipper goes down with an injury or finds himself suspended, there’s arguably not a natural replacement in the squad.
But if the Danish midfielder arrive, even he will be under pressure to keep those standards sky-high. As Man City have proven over the years, competition for places can be the driving force behind a team performing at the peak of their powers. If the Gunners are to take the next step, they too must add quantity to the quality.