Ex-Leeds United midfielder David Norris believes Marcelo Bielsa’s side will not be able to secure Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien before the end of the month, speaking to The Transfer Tavern.
The main reason why the 40-year-old believes O’Brien won’t arrive at Elland Road before the deadline is due to the Whites’ current refusal to meet the £10m valuation Huddersfield have put on the midfielder’s head.
The 22-year-old has been a key part of the Terriers’ first-team squad for the past two years and has made 80 Championship appearances in that time after flourishing on loan at Bradford City during the 2018/19 campaign – and looks set to play a big role at the John Smith’s Stadium again this term as it stands.
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However, Leeds United have maintained a strong interest in O’Brien and according to Football Insider, he was set to tell Huddersfield officials he wanted to quit and join the Premier League club.
With under 12 months left on his current deal in West Yorkshire, the midfielder may get the move he reportedly wants if Leeds United come back in with an improved offer.
However, the Championship club currently have the upper hand at the negotiating table with an option to trigger a one-year extension on his contract – the reason why they are currently able to hold out for an eight-figure fee.
And despite Bielsa’s side’s intense interest in the midfielder, ex-Leeds man and pundit David Norris would be surprised to see this move go through before the end of August.
Speaking to The Transfer Tavern on this subject, he said: “I think once it goes too far, there’s obviously an issue, so I can’t see that one happening now. I can’t see them paying £8m-£10m.
“Some teams attract players for a long period of time and eventually get a deal done, but this one seems like it’s not going to happen, it’s gone on too long.”
At this stage of the window, you can hardly blame Leeds United for trying to reduce his price as much as they possibly can, with Huddersfield potentially tempted to sell if the report on O’Brien’s mindset is true.
The one thing that could potentially stop this deal from materialising, other than Leeds United’s offer, is the fact the Terriers have already let go of Juninho Bacuna to Rangers in the past week and would be left with a huge hole in their midfield if O’Brien also makes a move.
Considering there’s little over a week until the window closes, selling both without bringing in replacements first would just be asking for trouble considering their 20th-place finish in the second tier last term.
And as vice-captain of Huddersfield, the Leeds-linked man is seen as one of the Championship side’s leaders in the dressing room. Without that leadership and his presence in midfield, they could ruin their decent start to the season.
But with two years effectively left on his deal, they are unlikely to get better offers for him beyond the summer if he fails to sign fresh terms at the John Smith’s Stadium. This is why this potential exit is a tough one to weigh up.