Scottish giants Celtic are reportedly trying to complete the transfer of highly rated Lee O’Connor before their midnight deadline. The Manchester United youth player has been a closely watched member of the Red Devils’ youth sides since moving to England in 2016. The Waterford man has earned comparisons to United and Waterford legend John O’Shea in his time at United.
This signing would be a big coup for Celtic if they manage to get it done in time. It will be a rush to get the signing over the line before midnight. This signing would come somewhat out of the blue on deadline day. Journalist Alan Nixon broke the news of Celtic’s interest in the player earlier this evening. The transfer has been reported to be a permanent move.
O’Connor is currently the captain of the Republic of Ireland’s U19 side. He is also a first team member of Manchester United’s U23 side. He is comfortable at playing all across the backline. Most recently he has featured at centre-back and at right-back for both club and country.
Manchester United fans and coaches have been watching this youngster closely since his arrival at the club. He has been highly tipped as one to watch for the future. Current Manchester United first team coach Kieran McKenna has spoken highly of the youngster in the past. McKenna has said of O’Connor, “I think he’s a really talented boy but also a very solid and dependable character, which is an important quality to have in a defender.”
O’Connor seems like a strange transfer for Manchester United to make. United have a tendency to give promising youth players first team opportunities. This is evident in the fact that United have fielded the youngest average age first team squad in all of the Premier League so far this season. It appears as though Manchester United’s abundance of centre-backs has forced O’Connor too far down the pecking order for the youngsters liking.
Even after the transfer of Chris Smalling to Roma, Manchester United have got six established first team centre-backs to choose from at present. If O’Connor has decided to leave to seek first team playing time, it’s hard to blame him. Celtic could offer far more first team opportunities to the talented youngster at present.
It will be interesting to see how this transfer unfolds in the dying hours of the Scottish transfer window. It is hard to imagine Manchester United letting the youngster go without at least putting a buy-back clause in the contract. If Celtic manage to pull this transfer off, O’Connor could quickly become a cult hero at Celtic Park.