The 23-year-old seems destined to move on from the John Smith’s Stadium this summer following the Terriers’ failure to win promotion back to the Premier League, with several sides thought to be in the race for his signature.
According to the same report, Leeds United and Crystal Palace have retained their interest after being linked with the Englishman last summer, with the former failing in their multiple attempts to get a deal for the midfielder over the line.
Quiz: 23 things literally every Huddersfield Town fan should know – But do you?
Other sides are reported to have joined the race since then including Southampton, Fulham and AFC Bournemouth, with the latter two likely to have a sizeable amount of money to spend in the coming months following their promotion back to the Premier League.
O’Brien could remain in the Championship though with Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion both admirers, though it remains to be seen whether either could fork out the eight-figure fee needed to lure him away from West Yorkshire.
There was the potential for interested sides to create a bidding war with his contract not expiring until the summer of 2025 – but a release clause in his contract means this is unlikely to happen unless clubs try and lure him away for less.
There is a small consolation for Carlos Corberan’s men though, with this clause reported to be much closer to the £12m mark than £10m, potentially providing a small increase in funds for the Spanish coach to play with in the coming months if his key man departs.
This is still a bargain price for a footballer that could easily be worth more than £20m in the next few years with his technical ability – and he deserves his move to the top flight this summer following such an impressive campaign at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Although Levi Colwill was extremely impressive for the Terriers, he didn’t have the baggage of being in a side that finished in 20th in the second-tier table at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, unlike O’Brien who was firmly involved.
The midfielder may have been one of their better performers – but it would have been a major challenge for the 23-year-old to pick himself up with his side previously looking as though they were going to be favourites for relegation.
However, his time looks set to come to an end at the second-tier side and you just get the feeling one side will go ahead and activate his release clause early on this summer to ensure they win the race for his signature.
The Blades and the Baggies probably won’t come out on top in this race – but there’s every chance the other sides in the race will win this race and it’s just a shame from Huddersfield’s point of view that they won’t be able to try and maximise his fee via a bidding war.