Middlesbrough signed Riley McGree from Charlotte FC last week, but the Australian was heavily linked to Celtic prior to sealing the switch to Teesside.

Middlesbrough made former Birmingham midfielder Riley McGree their fourth signing of the window.

They had already brought in Caolan Boyd-Munce on a permanent deal from Birmingham City, as well as Folarin Balogun and Aaron Connolly on loan from Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion respectively.

McGree wasn’t registered in time to make his Boro bow at the weekend in the 2-1 win over Reading, but he could play a part next Monday in the televised clash with Blackburn Rovers.

The 23-year-old was on the radar of Scottish giants Celtic, but after snubbing them for Middlesbrough, his former club Charlotte FC’s Sporting Director Zoran Krneta gave an insight into the player’s departure to The Athletic.

“From day one, myself and the rest of the leadership of this club have been saying that we want players who want to be here.

“We want hungry players who want to be here, who want to be a part of this incredible journey that we’re starting.

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“Riley McGree has become a better player and then decided that he doesn’t really want to come back to us unless he has to.

“And that wasn’t good enough for us. We didn’t like that. We didn’t like the player who is coming because we are persuading him to come.”

He continued, “We want the player to really come here and play for this club and be part of this history.

“And the moment it was clear that he had doubts, I started looking into options.”


His temperament could seem an issue on the surface, but it feels as though the player is just trying to climb the football ladder.

McGree may have felt his development would be stilted by plying his trade in the MLS for a new franchise, and instead looked to pursue a move away.

Celtic and Middlesbrough are two clubs significantly bigger in stature than Charlotte FC and it is easy to see why the Australian international wanted out when such clubs came calling.

Of course there is better ways to go about things and only time will tell if there is any disruption at his new club.