Crystal Palace have suffered a potentially significant blow in their pursuit of Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien.
The Eagles have been linked to the highly-rated 22-year-old in recent weeks as new manager Patrick Vieira looks to strengthen his engine room options.
O’Brien has entered the final year of his current contract at the John Smiths Stadium, although the Terriers do have the option to extend that by a further 12 months.
However, fellow Premier League side Leeds United appear to have won the race for O’Brien’s signature after agreeing a £7m fee for the player, according to The Telegraph.
After rising through the ranks at his boyhood club, O’Brien has established himself as one of Huddersfield’s most promising midfielders, scoring five goals and providing seven assists in 83 appearances for the Yorkshire outfit.
Vieira has already bolstered his midfield engine room options in the shape of Conor Gallagher on loan, but with James McCarthy departing and Cheikhou Kouyate linked with an imminent exit, the former Nice boss may need added reinforcements for the upcoming campaign.
However, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that O’Brien will be the man to solve the south London outfit’s conundrum in the middle of the park.
After missing the opening two matches of the Championship season due to COVID-19, the Englishman returned to action for their 1-0 victory over Preston North End on Tuesday night, putting in a solid display on his comeback.
Palace have been targeting young, exciting acquisitions in the current window, changing the landscape at Selhurst Park in the process, and O’Brien would certainly fit into the makeup of the new-look side.
Therefore, news that Leeds are closing in on his signature will surely leave Vieira feeling gutted. The capital club have also been heavily linked with a move for Watford ace Will Hughes, but reportedly saw an opening offer of £5m turned down by the Hornets.
It leaves the former Nice boss in a rather tricky situation as both of his top midfielder targets are seemingly out of his reach at this moment in time.
With just a couple of weeks remaining before the transfer window shuts, Vieira will be desperate to add the final touches to what’s been a successful summer so far.