Leeds United must return for Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien in the January transfer window amid Kevin Campbell’s transfer claim.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side failed in their attempts to sign the 22-year-old in the summer, with The Athletic’s Phil Hay reporting that the Whites simply did not want to pay the money that the Terriers were demanding.
However, Campbell has now suggested that the Whites could well return for the midfield dynamo when January comes around.
He said: “The money is there. Sometimes these transfers are to fatten your squad up. The player might not go into the starting 11 straight away.
“£8million to fatten the squad when Leeds actually have players who can do a job, maybe it wasn’t the priority. Maybe they will bide their time and return for him in January.”
While Leeds addressed their need for a new senior left-back (Junior Firpo), and a winger to challenge the likes of Jack Harrison and Raphinha (Dan James), one area of real interest on which they failed to deliver was a new central midfielder.
The decision not to pay up for O’Brien now places an even bigger demand on the limited options Bielsa currently has, and the Leeds manager will be hoping and praying that the likes of Kalvin Phillips can stay injury-free.
A January move for O’Brien would go a long way to ensuring that the Whites are well protected in that department.
Huddersfield Town writer Steven Chicken has raved about the 22-year-old’s work-rate and ability to develop into a Premier League player despite only playing at Championship level thus far.
He said: “O’Brien is a left-footed, tough-tackling central midfielder. Former Huddersfield boss Danny Cowley often praised O’Brien as being ‘like having two players’, with the midfielder receiving particular praise from his manager and fans alike for his ability and willingness to rush back and win the ball with a clean sliding tackle whenever his side were caught on the counter-attack.
“He certainly has the potential to be (a Premier League player), if he’s not already.”
As per WhoScored, O’Brien averaged two tackles and one interception per game in the Championship last season, which is only slightly less than the 2.6 tackles and 1.6 interceptions that Phillips managed in the top flight.
The £5k-a-week ace should be a top target for Leeds once again when the January transfer window comes around in a few months’ time. Signing him would solve one of Bielsa’s big problems of not having enough depth in central midfield.