The future of seven time capped Socceroo Riley McGree looks to be almost settled as Celtic emerge as favourites to capture the signature of the 23-year-old Midfielder.
After a stuttering start to his career in the UK with Championship side Birmingham City, Socceroos star Riley McGree quickly found himself a fan favourite and a key player this season at St. Andrews stadium in the second season of his loan stint from MLS expansion side Charlotte FC, who he joined in 2020.
According to multiple UK outlets including the Daily Record, Celtic are reported to have secured the services of the former Adelaide United man, subject to international clearance.
With three goals in 30 appearances for Birmingham City during his time at the club, McGree has found himself a hot prospect with a number of clubs reportedly chasing his signature and several Championship clubs said to be keen on landing the midfielder, yet Scottish club Celtic seem to have won the race.
After a slow start to life at Birmingham, often finding himself playing with the Under 23’s and being in and out of the first team squad, Riley McGree had a stellar second season with the EFL Championship side.
Featuring 13 times for Birmingham City the season in the Championship, McGree featured for the full 90 minutes in 10 of his last 11 appearances for the club, with several man of the match performances.
His ability to cover lots of ground, his eye for a pass and ability to link defence and attack lead to the 23-year old Australian quickly finding himself a key player in Lee Bowyer’s side before leaving in late December, capping off an excellent 2021 for McGree which included featuring in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and an international debut.
While Birmingham City were keen to keep McGree, and had attempted to make the move permanent before he left at the end of December, it is believed that they were unable to match Charlotte FC’s asking price.
“It’s sadly come to an end, but it has been a bit of a whirlwind and a good adventure and one that I have good memories from,” McGree said in his statement announcing his departure from Birmingham City.
“England is where you want to come and play, to be able to get the opportunity in the Championship and to come to Birmingham, I took it and wanted to get here.” McGree said.
It was reported that fellow Championship side Middlesborough and Nottingham Forrest were also heavily linked in the past according to multiple reports.
Celtic are said to have tabled an offer between AUD $3.8M and AUD $5.7M for McGree, after the recent acquisitions of Japanese duo Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi already in the Januarary transfer window, leaving Celtic with an abundance of midfield depth
Should McGree join the Scottish giants, he will also join Socceroos team mate Tom Rogic, who has been at the club since joining from A-League side Central Coast Mariners in 2013.
Riley McGree and Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou are no strangers to each other, with Riley McGree receiving a call up to Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad for their 2018 World Cup qualifying matches against Iraq and UAE.
The then 18-year-old McGree did not feature for the senior Socceroos side in the qualifiers, instead remaining on the bench for both matches, before ultimately making his national team debut in 2021 against Kuwait.