Leeds United may still want to sign Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien because of Jesse Marsch’s lack of involvement in their addition of Brenden Aaronson, according to journalist Ryan Taylor who spoke to Give Me Sport.
23-year-old O’Brien was reported to be on Marcelo Bielsa’s radar last summer with multiple bids from the Whites being knocked back by their local rivals, who were desperate to keep hold of him.
Crystal Palace were also said to be in the race for his signature during last year’s summer window – but Patrick Vieira’s side also failed to strike an agreement and Huddersfield received a big boost in September when the midfielder put pen to paper on a new contract.
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Extending his stay at the John Smith’s Stadium until the summer of 2025, this will allow them to maximise the revenue they could create for the Englishman if he moves on this summer, following his current side’s failure to win promotion back to the Premier League.
It was previously unclear whether the 23-year-old would remain on Leeds’ radar though following their decision to replace Bielsa with Marsch in February – but they remain in the race for his signature according to TEAMtalk.
And Taylor believes that claim could be accurate with Bielsa and the top-tier side’s board’s influence extending to this summer’s signing of Aaronson, with similar potentially set to happen if they trigger O’Brien’s release clause.
He said to Give Me Sport: “I think he (O’Brien) will still be a player of interest to Leeds because Brenden Aaronson wasn’t anything to do with Jesse Marsch, that was a signing that Bielsa was keen for, given his running stats.
“I think in the Champions League this season, no player ran more than Aaronson, which obviously with his Murderball football, it was key for that. So, it’s clear the targets have sort of come in from upstairs, and Victor Orta has a clear strategy.”
Considering the growing power those upstairs seem to have at football clubs now, especially Leeds with Orta having a clear influence, it would be no surprise to see the 23-year-old come through the door at Elland Road.
Although he may be reluctant to make this move considering Leeds are Huddersfield’s local rivals, this transfer would allow the midfielder to remain in Yorkshire, something he has done all his footballing life, going out on loan to Bradford City before establishing himself as a key first-teamer at the John Smith’s Stadium.
He is also more likely to get regular first-team football at Elland Road as opposed to a team higher up the table and there is a clear need to strengthen their midfield further despite the addition of Aaronson.
At this stage, the Whites are probably one of the favourites to go down next season considering how close they came to relegation at the end of last term, but it’s probably worth O’Brien taking a gamble and leaving at this point if regular top-flight football is on offer.
A release clause could also be useful in his Leeds contract if he was to make this move – because another side may be willing to take a chance on him if he performs well at Elland Road and the Whites do go down at the end of the 2022/23 season.