Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder has claimed that the reasoning behind his side signing reported Celtic target Riley McGree isn’t due to ‘blowing other clubs out of the water’ in terms of fees or wages.
Over the past week, the Australian international midfielder was heavily linked to a move to Parkhead, with Ange Postecoglou confirming that talks had taken place between the club and the player’s representatives.
However, the 23-year old who also spent time on loan at Birmingham looks to have chosen to complete a move to fellow English Championship club Middlesbrough, with the latest reports suggesting that Wilder’s side stepped up their bid to get McGree.
As quoted by Football Scotland, Chris Wilder has had his say on some of the speculation in recent days and shutdown suggestions that the midfielder is only moving to the North East of England due to financial reasons.
“It is quite a difficult window, but financially in terms of balancing books off, it’s been a really good one as well.
“That’s not just with Riley; that’s with Flo [Balogun] and with Aaron Connolly too.
“We’ve been into these players for a while now, and we’ve understood the deals and situations, and as happens, these boys have other clubs coming in for them.
“But genuinely, if you ask those three players where they wanted to come and where they wanted to be, they’ve got their opinion.
“You can say, of course, they’re going to say that, but I genuinely believe they do want to be here, especially in Riley’s case.
“I’ve known about him for a while, and it speaks volumes about the hard work we put in.
“I don’t believe they’re coming because of a financial point of view. We are competitive, and we have been competitive, but I think there are a lot of other things that have swayed why these boys have wanted to come here.
“We’re delighted because it’s another young player we’ve managed to capture on a permanent.
“Obviously, there are certain situations you have to deal with, whether that be loan market or permanent, and the area that I looked at was energetic, enthusiastic and talented young players on permanents as well because we want to build our assets.
“That’s one of the big things I’m looking at now – from an asset point of view, and we’ve certainly got an asset in the building with signing Riley McGree.
“It’s just got to go through the final bits and pieces, but we’re fingers crossed he’ll be able to come straight in tomorrow.
“We’ve beaten off strong competition to get him, and we’ve known about this players for a long time.”
McGree looked like he could have been a decent option to add to the ever-improving squad under Ange Postecoglou, without any guarantee of game time.
Ultimately, though, Postecoglou said it best in the press yesterday. Whether it is down to financial reasons or not, we as a club are only interested in players who want to play for Celtic.
That wasn’t to be for McGree, and now the 56-year old will move on, either looking at different options during the window or continue to improve his squad as it is.