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Leeds: Marsch could unearth the next Rice in O’Brien

Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Lewis O’Brien to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.

That’s according to a report by The Sun, who claim that Jesse Marsch will make a move for the Huddersfield Town central midfielder this summer, with the 23-year-old said to have a £10m release clause written into his contract with the Championship side.

The report goes on to state that, should the Terriers have secured promotion to the Premier League in Sunday’s play-off final, the Whites could have once again missed out on the player they attempted to sign 12 months ago, however, with Nottingham Forest defeating Carlos Corberan’s side at Wembley, the door is now open for Marsch to move for O’Brien.

Rice 2.0

Considering just how impressive O’Brien was for Huddersfield this season, it is unsurprising to learn of Marsch’s interest in a move for the box-to-box midfielder.

Indeed, over his 43 Championship appearances this term – excluding his three play-off fixtures – the £3.15m-rated talent was imperious in the middle of the park, scoring three goals, registering three assists and creating four big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.1 shots, making 1.0 key passes and completing 2.0 dribbles per game.

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The £5k-per-week midfielder also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, enjoying 56.7 touches of the ball, in addition to making an average of 0.8 interceptions, 2.2 tackles, 29.5 passes and winning 7.5 duels – at a success rate of 56% – per fixture.

These returns saw the Huddersfield academy graduate showered with a considerable amount of praise, with Jonathan Hogg stating of the 23-year-old earlier this season:

“I think it’s only a matter of time before he plays in the Premier League. He has a lot of great attributes, his energy and intensity is sensational, up there with the best I’ve seen in my career. He certainly drives the team with his energy and forward runs, it helps the team massively… it’s only a matter of time before he does play at the top level.”

Furthermore, Sky Sports pundit Jobi McAnuff backed up Hogg’s claim that O’Brien is ready for a Premier League move, with the former Crystal Palace, Reading and Watford forward stating of the youngster:

“He’s probably not a household name but he’s a midfielder who, for me, has been a massive part of that Huddersfield team. He’s only 23 years of age but he’s had four real good, solid seasons now at this level and he’s really, really developing. He’s led the team at times, captaining in the absence of Jonathan Hogg.

“He can play central midfield, he’s got a bit of everything; he’s a good tackler, carries the ball ever so well and you can see him popping up with a few goals this season. He literally is a midfielder who’s got every part of his game and I certainly feel there’d be some Premier League clubs knocking if Huddersfield don’t get through the play-offs.”

Indeed, O’Brien’s metrics this season, coupled with Hogg and McAnuff’s descriptions of the 23-year-old, would very much appear to draw comparisons between the Town starlet and West Ham United’s Declan Rice – the driving midfielder who scored one goal, registered four assists, made 2.2 tackles, completed 1.4 dribbles and won 5.1 duels per game over his 36 Premier League appearances this term.

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He is currently the club-record signing...

As such, should Victor Orta manage to get a deal over the line for Hogg this summer, the Spanish sporting director could well have unearthed the next Rice at Leeds – something that is sure to be an extremely exciting prospect for both Marsch and supporters of the Whites alike.

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