Matt O'Riley Celtic transfer exit inevitable as Hoops need to find 'nugget' of a replacement

Matt O'Riley will inevitably leave Celtic in this transfer window, according to Neil Lennon.

The goalscoring midfielder was the subject of a £20million transfer bid from Atletico Madrid in January but that was booted out at the time by the Hoops. His incredible form carried on for the second part of the season and it's expected there will be further interest in his services this summer

It's thought Atleti could rekindle their own attempts while a host of sides in England are likely to be in the mix for the Denmark international's signature and there has been reported interest from Italy in the past. Lennon can't seem him staying as he pored over his old club's needs in the market.

He reckons they require a new goalkeeper, centre-back, a midfielder and more ammunition up front. But he fears they will also need another midfield player on top of that if O'Riley does indeed move on.

The Rapid Bucharest boss 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.

“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."

In terms of scoruing for players, he hopes Celtic can find another gem like he did with Jeremie Frimpong, on the verge of a massive transfer this summer after being plucked from Manchester City for £300,000 and then heading to Leverkusen for a massive profit.

Lennon added: "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.

“With Celtic there’s the carrot of the Champions League which is a big incentive. You can attract a £10m player, but there’s the wages to come to Scotland, that’s the issue. It’s easy in theory.

"Brendan Rodgers will need a year or two to build a team that’s really competitive. When we got to the last 16 under myself, that was my third season as a manager. Gordon Strachan did it in his second and third seasons, which was remarkable really.

“Ange Postecoglou’s campaign was the first in five or six years and Brendan’s followed that. But they need strengthened to compete - Brendan touched upon that this season.