Journalist Conor McGilligan has suggested that Leeds United’s pursuit of Lewis O’Brien could get significantly more difficult now following a recent update.
Alan Nixon had previously claimed via Twitter that the Huddersfield Town midfielder was “very near” to the top of the shortlist for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this summer, but a deal failed to materialise before the end of the deadline.
Following that, The Yorkshire Live have revealed that O’Brien is in talks with the Terriers over extending his contract at the club, and that is something McGilligan feels could throw a real spanner in the works for Leeds.
While speaking on the One Leeds Fan Channel, he said: “It’s big news, really, because if he does sign this contract extension, it doesn’t mean that Leeds United are not going to be able to go back in for Lewis O’Brien, of course not.
“But what it does mean is, if we’re haggling over £4m, which it seemed Leeds United were over the summer months, this is going to be very, very difficult.
“Because if it’s sort of £6-8m and Leeds don’t value him at that price, that’s going to be a problem, because the contract extension – which you probably would look to as a minimum of three years, especially for a youngster securing his future – is going to potentially put him up to that £10m bracket that Huddersfield Town were valuing him at the start. So Lewis O’Brien, that’s going to be difficult.”
A new central midfielder was no doubt a big part of the summer agenda for Leeds, and Nixon’s claim that O’Brien was “very near” to the top of the short-list was an indication of just how badly Bielsa wanted him.
The fact the Whites were haggling over a literal few million pounds as McGilligan himself says, was a brave gamble by Andrea Radrizzani to try and ensure the club got the best deal possible.
But instead, Huddersfield held firm and called their bluff, and ultimately, it’s Bielsa who’s gotten badly burnt given that he once again goes into a new season without a new central midfielder.
Radrizzani can however redeem himself either in the January transfer window or next summer, by opening up his chequebook and finally sanctioning a move for O’Brien, even if now the price might be higher.
As everybody saw with how Bielsa eventually got his man in Dan James from Manchester United, the Argentine has a clear idea of who he wants, and O’Brien seemingly fits the bill for him.
It’s imperative Radrizzani delivers on his manager’s wishes.