SAINTS want to sign Celtic midfielder Matt O'Riley but personal terms are the biggest potential stumbling block, the Daily Echo understands.

Manager Russell Martin is a long-term admirer of the Denmark international, who was left out of his country's squad for EURO 2024.

O'Riley, 23, was Celtic's star man last season and registered 18 goals and 13 assists in 38 matches as they lifted the Scottish Premiership title.

O'Riley worked under Martin at MK Dons in League One during the 2020/21 campaign before the pair went their separate ways.

However, they have both been outspoken about their admiration for each other and a reunion at St Mary's is possible.

Any deal is still far away and the Daily Echo is told Saints also have work to do to convince O'Riley to make the move down south.

Matt O'Riley was Celtic's top scorer last season with 18Matt O'Riley was Celtic's top scorer last season with 18 (Image: PA)

Agreeing on a transfer fee with Celtic is considered possible, as reports in Scotland have suggested Saints are set to make an offer of £20million.

The biggest potential stumbling block is that the in-demand player simply wants a bigger wage than Saints would typically offer.

Spanish giants Atletico Madrid bid for the ace - contracted until 2027 - in January but boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed Celtic rejected the offer. 

Southampton's interest in O'Riley is long-standing but no move would have been possible while the club was in the Championship.

Saints will hope to persuade O'Riley to join this summer with reinforcements wanted in midfield following Stuart Armstrong's departure.

Fulham academy graduate O'Riley represented England at youth level before making the switch to play for Denmark in 2022.

Speaking in 2022 about his relationship with Saints boss Martin, O'Riley said: "Russell Martin is the one (coach) who I am still in contact with the most.

“He was a big influence on me at MK. He’s the first manager to really understand me as a player and more importantly as a person. 

"Russell is happy for me. He tries to tune in to all the games, even though he’s a manager at Swansea. He loves watching and he’s a massive follower of my journey."