View: Matt O'Riley is ready-made Crystal Palace player as Celtic ace linked with Selhurst Park
Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley has been linked with a move to Crystal Palace and the 21-year-old would be a perfect fit in South London.
The Sun’s Alan Nixon revealed (via his Patreon, 9 October) that Palace scout Dougie Freedman watched the former Fulham youngster in Champions League action against RB Leipzig last week.
Palace are in the market for a midfield addition and after missing out on Connor Gallagher, they could well look to the Celtic ace in the coming months.
If O’Riley does move to Crystal Palace then the Eagles will continue their habit of unearthing gems from lesser leagues, with Michael Olise Eberechi Eze both being poached from Championship teams in the past.
Both players operate in a similar attacking midfield role to O’Riley and the Celtic man’s numbers certainly stand up well to the Palace pair, albeit he is mainly operating in the Scottish Premiership.
O’Riley has five assists to his name already this season and also has an expected goal of 3.1 this season (Wyscout), which demonstrates that he should start to be a goal threat as the season continues.
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O’Riley’s XG is twice as good as Eze’s and nearly six times better than Olise’s this season. There is the obvious caveat of Palace playing in the Premier League, but it is still an encouraging statistic.
The 21-year-old would also provide Palace’s strikers with no end of chances, particularly from crosses from wider areas. O’Riley manages 3.4 crosses per 90, which is more than both Eze and Olise. The likes of Odsonne Édouard Jean-Philippe Mateta thrive on balls into the box so O’Riley would certainly have an excellent chance of racking up more assists at Selhurst Park.
The Celtic man is more of a ball-playing midfielder than Palace’s duo, who like to dribble at every opportunity. However, Palace’s attacking midfield is potentially lacking a bit of craft and guile, which O’Riley certainly provides.
This would be a coup for Palace and Patrick Viera and certainly an exciting one for the Selhurst Park faithful.
In other Football Wonderkids news, this scouting expert has put a huge price tag on one Leeds United player that would bankroll a big summer of spending at Elland Road.