The 20-year-old US international midfielder is reportedly being eyed by the Scottish champions ahead of his Fulham contract expiring this summer.
Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman has told GotSoccer that potential playing time will be a big factor in determining his next move amid reports linking him with a summer switch to Celtic.
Hyndman, who is the grandson of former FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, joined Fulham from the MLS side in 2011 and has gone on to feature 28 times for the Cottagers since earning his first-team debut in August 2014, scoring once.
Widely considered one of the USA’s top talents, the 20-year-old midfielder has already earned two senior international caps and captained the Under-20s to the World Cup quarter-finals in New Zealand last summer.
However, after missing most of the 2014-15 run-in with a broken collarbone, the Texas native struggled to break into the Fulham side over the first half of this past campaign and failed to make his season debut until December.
His prolonged absence came after he revealed at the start of the season that he planned to leave the Championship club when his contract expired this summer, leading to suggestions that he was being left out for his reluctance to sign a new deal.
When he actually saw playing time, the highly-rated American earned plenty of rave reviews, and manger Slavisa Jokanovic admitted last month that he regretted not giving him more of a chance.
“He’s probably one of the more talented players,” Jokanovic told the likes of Sky Sports after seeing Hyndman score an injury-time winner on his birthday in a 2-1 victory over Cardiff City to move Fulham 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
“I am little bit disappointed with myself that I haven't found more minutes for him this season. He probably needs to be a little bit stronger for the Championship, but he's a young guy and he will be a very good footballer for us.”
Nevertheless, Hyndman remains all but certain to leave Fulham on a free transfer imminently and has been linked with some major clubs both in England and across Europe over recent months.
The latest reports have suggested that Celtic are competing with Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan for his signature [h/t The Scottish Sun], while the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United have also been mentioned as potential suitors [h/t ESPN FC].
The youngster, who featured in the US national team’s 3-1 friendly win over Puerto Rico on Sunday, is now weighing up his options before settling on his next move and admitted to GotSoccer that the promise of first-team football could help influence his ultimate decision.
“Yeah, that’s another big thing,” Hyndman said while taking part in the USA’s pre-Copa America 'transition camp' in Miami. “There’s different sorts of clubs, different places, different leagues, there are different paths you can take.
“You take a bigger club and possibly not play as much, maybe go on loan or you can settle for a good solid club, maybe not fighting for the same things but you’ll get more chances along the way.
“I feel like I need to make the best decision for me, personally and that’s going to take a little bit of time. I’ll take this time, discuss it with my family, people around me that really help me make these decisions and we’ll see.”
Despite playing against Puerto Rico, Hyndman was not eligible to make the USA’s recently announced Copa America squad after being left off the provisional 40-man roster, but his presence in Miami suggests he remains an important part of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s plans for the future.
The diminutive playmaker’s passing ability has stood out as his main strength since pushing his way into Fulham's first-team, having ended the 2014-15 season with a team-leading 89 percent pass completion rate, but he is also a tireless worker whose defence has come on in leaps and bounds of late.
Regardless of his recent struggles, it should come as no surprise that his name has been linked with several Champions League teams considering his potential, and a fresh start elsewhere could be just what’s needed to help kick-start his club career.
Celtic would not appear to be an immediate fit given their current plethora of central midfield options in Scott Brown, Nir Button, Stuart Armstrong, Stefan Johansen, Scott Allan and Tom Rogic, but if new boss Brendan Rodgers can convince him to come to Parkhead this summer then the Hoops would have a considerable talent on their hands.