Talks between Scottish Premiership side Celtic and former Birmingham City loanee Riley McGree have stalled at the eleventh hour, according to Sky Sports (11/1; 11:46pm).
With the Blues not prepared to fork out the money needed to bring him to St Andrew’s on a permanent deal from MLS outfit Charlotte, it was Ange Postecoglou’s side who had seemingly moved the quickest to try and lure him to Glasgow.
In what previously looked like a certain deal to be concluded, Sky Sports are now reporting that negotiations have broken down due to a disagreement over personal terms and with that, the race for his signature now seems to be back on.
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Last night, news also broke via the Daily Mail that Championship side Middlesbrough had made a late move in a bid to secure his signature, as Chris Wilder looks to continue strengthening the Teesside outfit ahead of a potential promotion push.
Getting off to a near-perfect start at the Riverside Stadium, the ex-Sheffield United boss has also moved quickly in the transfer market with Brighton and Hove Albion’s Aaron Connolly joining the club until the end of the campaign.
Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun is also thought to be close to securing a move to Boro – but it now seems as though he has more than one iron in the fire with Rangers’ Jack Simpson being linked and this late pursuit of McGree.
The latter has also been reported by The Sun’s Alan Nixon.
This would be another statement of intent from Boro if they were to get this deal over the line, something they may be able to do with the amount they invested in the playing squad during the summer.
But even with this mass movement in the summer, they are still intent on making more moves and this has to be applauded, as long as they are staying within the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules to avoid sanctions.
In saying that, it does feel as though they need to focus on permanent agreements after the loan arrival of Folarin Balogun – because that will take their temporary player total up to six and they would benefit from bringing in no more.
It could be argued that the lack of game time James Lea Siliki is receiving effectively brings that total down to five loanees – but he looks set to still be a part of the first-team squad when he returns from the African Cup of Nations.
Right now, it’s about building for the long term, and McGree potentially arriving on a multi-year contract can only help to put those building blocks in place for the future, a future that looks bright at this stage.