£25m Leeds United-linked Celtic man opens up on 'very difficult' summer decision

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Leeds United have been linked with a move for the Danish international with Daniel Farke keen to add goals from midfield this summer.

Matt O’Riley refused to be drawn into talk over his future but insists it would be ‘very difficult’ to leave Celtic, amid ongoing links with Leeds United and other clubs across Europe.

Leeds continue to be linked with a move for O’Riley, who has won plenty of admirers over an impressive three-year spell at Celtic. The attacking midfielder has been particularly influential this campaign, with 18 goals and 13 assists helping Brendan Rodgers’ side to the Scottish Premiership title.

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Those in charge at Elland Road are not the only potential suitors, however, with multiple reports linking O’Riley with a move away from Celtic and anywhere across Europe. Speaking after his side lifted the Scottish Premiership trophy, following a 3-2 win over St Mirren on Saturday, the 23-year-old did not rule out a summer move.

“That’s a tough question,” O’Riley said when asked about his future. “Yeah, it would be very difficult [to walk away from Celtic]. I have said before, the club means a lot to me. I think right from day one, I fell in love with the club because the fans are so crazy and passionate, you know, It’s a proper fanbase. Yeah, one more game to focus on and I will take it from there.”

Before turning focus to the summer, O’Riley and Celtic first have the small matter of an Old Firm derby in the Scottish Cup final to look forward to later this month as they eye a domestic double. The transfer window will open less than three weeks after that clash at Hampden Park and it is at that point wheels could start turning.

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As well as Leeds, there is thought to be interest in O’Riley from Premier League pair West Ham United and Brighton. Further abroad, Spanish giants Atletico Madrid are thought to be weighing up a potential summer move.

Any move for O'Riley would likely cost significantly more than the reported £10million bid from Leeds that was rejected last summer. The Danish international will still have three years remaining on his contract come June and after such an impressive season, reports have suggested it could take around £25m this time round.

That is the kind of money that will only be spent by Leeds if they are investing in a squad looking forward to Premier League football. Daniel Farke’s side face Southampton in the Championship play-off final next weekend but another year in the second-tier would almost certainly rule out a move for Celtic’s attacking midfielder.

The profile of O’Riley will likely be a priority for Leeds regardless of which league they are in, with Daniel Farke badly lacking a consistent goalscoring threat from midfield. Ilia Gruev’s smart free-kick in the semi-final second-leg win over Norwich City on Thursday was the first goal scored by a midfielder all season, with none of Glen Kamara, Archie Gray or Ethan Ampadu - who has also spent time in defence - off the mark.