Serie A giants join queue for Celtic star as Rangers and Leeds United linked defender soon to be offered deal

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Celtic face a battle to keep a hold of one of their star assets this summer

Italian giants AS Roma are the latest club to show an interest in highly-rated Celtic star Matt O’Riley after a sensational individual campaign.

The Danish midfielder has been in sublime form for the Hoops in recent months and was a catalyst in his side’s title win as he fired in an impressive 18 goals from 37 Premiership matches - including two key strikes against Rangers in the title run-in.

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The former MK Dons man has been crucial to everything that Celtic do and is renowned for his ability to also get on the ball and create chances as he displayed with his league high 13 assists last term.

The 23-year-old was heavily pursued by Atletico Madrid during the January transfer window but their loan offer with an obligation to buy in the summer was never likely to be sanctioned in the midst of a title battle.

This summer it is expected that Diego Simeone’s side will return to the table with an improved offer while there are also reports linking West Ham, Fulham and Tottenham with a potential move.

However, Roma are the news club to enter the race, according to the Celtic Star. The capital side finished sixth in the Serie A table last term and also reached the semi-final of the Europa League as they ended the season on a high under new boss Daniele De Rossi.

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The Roma legend’s side were just six points short of securing a top four spot and are keen to bolster their central options to try and return to the Champions League next term.

Celtic are determined to keep hold of their star asset after his performances in recent times, but former boss Neil Lennon has conceded that it is inevitable that O’Riley will leave this summer.

He told BBC Sportscene: “There’s surgery to be done at Celtic.

“It’s obvious they need a goalkeeper. They need two centre-halves to compete in Europe - they need another Cameron Carter-Vickers type with speed and power.

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“They need a number six and they need strikers. I’d do something to get Adam Idah, if he's £4-5m.

“He has room for improvement, even though he’s improved already.

“He scored again for Ireland the other night with a great header.

“He’s young enough and there’s huge potential.

“But I think they’ll lose O’Riley - there’s an inevitability about that, so he’ll need replacing.

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“You can find nuggets. I found Jeremie Frimpong in a training ground game for Manchester City against Celtic.

“We got him for £300,000 and though you never know how good they’re going to be, the release clause in his contract now is between £40 and £50m.”

However, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano does understand that O’Riley is only likely to leave Celtic Park if he is sold for a Scottish record fee, which as it stands is the £25m paid for the sales of Jota to Al-Ittihad (2023) and former full back Kieran Tierney to Arsenal (2019).

West Ham United have offered Ben Johnson a new and improved five-year deal as they aim to avoid losing him on a free transfer.

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The 24-year-old full back is out of contract this summer and has attracted interest from Scottish heavyweight Rangers as well Crystal Palace and Leeds United.

The Athletic understands that Johnson has turned down a number of offers to extend his stay at the London Stadium due to frustrations over the number of first team opportunities he is getting.

Johnson only made 14 league appearances in the 2023/24 campaign and was often forced to play second fiddle to Czechia international Vladmir Coufal.

But new coach Julen Lopetegui is believed to see the defender as a key part of his plans going forward as he looks to build a Hammers team that can once again secure European qualification.

Rangers’ first choice right back is currently captain James Tavernier, but Johnson’s ability to also play as a centre back is seen as a huge attraction to manager Philippe Clement.

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