Celtic have set their sights on young Middlesbrough sensation, Ajay Matthews, with talks reportedly underway to bring the 18-year-old striker to Paradise. [Football League World]

The frontman has only a year left on his current contract, there’s a possibility Matthews could make the switch next summer for a modest development fee if no new deal is struck, but given he is sought after it looks likely he’ll make the jump somewhere this season

Matthews, a standout in the under-18 Premier League last season, is widely regarded as a rising star. However, we can’t see him being a player Brendan Rodgers is desperate to get through the door for first-team action. He’s likely being seen as someone who can come in and join the B team to see what he can do.

The youngster has also represented England under 18 jersey in three friendlies thus far. Celtic don’t have a great track record as of late bringing in young talent and then getting them prepared for the first team. That could be a mark against the club if Matthews has options elsewhere. 

 Matthews 16 goals in 17 starts this season for the youth team.

For the player, Celtic offers a unique development opportunity next season. Competing in the Lowland League and the UEFA Youth League could be the perfect environment for his growth.

While a debut in the first team might not be immediate, Celtic are striving to show they can bring young talent on and Matthews could be a potential template should he join and make the grade.

The future of some of our current young players is still very much up in the air. Rocco Vata looks to be on his way out having not signed a new deal with the Scottish Champions. While Daniel Kelly mulls over his next move. The midfielder who made his debut last season and also grabbed his first senior goal has six months left on his deal and has yet to commit.

Celtic have had an issue over the years keeping a hold of their top young talent. Some become frustrated with the lack of first-team opportunities while others have their head turned by sizeable wages and the glamour of playing for a club in one of the top five leagues.

The club must begin to turn the tide and make it their USP to young players that if you come to Celtic you can quickly find yourself in and around the first team if you’re good enough.


  1. Need to keep young talent at Celtic and bringing in top prospects keeps the quality coming out of b team Middlesbrough have a great youth academy


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