The Athletic’s Phil Hay has revealed the latest on Leeds United’s pursuit of Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien in this summer transfer window.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have had a fairly quiet transfer window thus far, with relatively few players coming in – in terms of the first team, the Whites snapped up Junior Firpo from Barcelona and clinched the permanent signing of Jack Harrison.
In a pre-match discussion ahead of Leeds’ Premier League clash against Everton yesterday, Hay delivered an update on where things stand at the moment.
He said: “We’ll have to see if anything materialises in the last week but it’s not looking promising in terms of more arrivals. With O’Brien, Huddersfield want £8m+. Leeds think he’s worth half as much and at this stage, aren’t prepared to go higher. Conor Gallagher was the player they really wanted in that position.”
Hay added: “Most clubs will tell you that before they start bidding for a player, they’ll try and sound him or his agent out to see if he’s actually interested – otherwise it’s a waste of time. The fee is the stumbling block for O’Brien and I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’d like to come but Huddersfield will have a valuation and to be fair, it’s their prerogative to set the price.”
Speaking after the 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United last week, Bielsa moved to cool any talk of potential new signings.
He said: “It’s not probable that any more signings will be made. I’m happy with the players I can count on at the moment. It’s the same group as last season with the substitution of Firpo for Alioski.
“Signings that strengthen the team means a player has to compete with players who already have a position. That means there’s a very high cost to these.
“With regards to this situation, if players don’t arrive there’s disappointment that they don’t arrive. Yes we need more players but only players who are better than what we have, who we can buy. This club have invested. It’s not like this club hasn’t invested.”
While Bielsa was quick to insist that he would be happy to continue with the squad he currently has, he did admit that new signings were needed to strengthen. After missing out on Gallagher like, Hay suggests, a move for O’Brien seems a necessity given the real lack of genuine cover they have for Kalvin Phillips and in the central midfield area.
The difference in valuation according to The Athletic journalist over the Terriers midfielder certainly doesn’t seem like much, especially in the context of the modern market.
Bielsa would surely be gutted if Leeds decided to penny-pinch on a target that his team desperately needs.