Premier League side Leeds United are ready to trigger Lewis O’Brien’s £10million release clause in a bid to lure him away from local rivals Huddersfield Town, according to a report by The Sun.
The 23-year-old has been instrumental in guiding the Terriers to a promotion goal and is likely to face Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-off final this afternoon, already having three goals and three assists in 43 seconds -Tier- appearances during this tenure.
However, that doesn’t really reflect his actual influence, who is proving to be the beating heart of Carlos Corberan’s side in the middle of the park, building on his progress from last season.
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He was the subject of the Whites’ greatest interest last summer and while Crystal Palace were reportedly ready to hijack the move, it was the West Yorkshire side who were most closely linked with the midfielder.
That interest is perhaps unsurprising given how close Corberan and then-Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa were to the pair who worked together at Elland Road before the latter’s departure.
They continue to keep an eye on the 23-year-old despite Bielsa’s departure, with Jesse Marsch needing to improve his midfield area to give Leeds the best possible chance of staying afloat again in the top flight next season.
The Whites are likely to face significant competition for his services, however, with Palace, Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers also eyeing his situation, according to TEAMtalk. And the Terriers are likely to offer him new terms if promoted, dropping the release clause currently in his contract.
If Leeds are to recruit the 23-year-old they may need to rely on Forest to win today but also act quickly themselves to try and get that deal through the line, with O’Brien likely to benefit from a full pre-season Ellandstrasse.
The Lancashire side are likely to have an immediate advantage over Burnley in this race due to the Lancashire side’s relegation – and they could be in pole position to sign the midfielder as he wouldn’t need to move if he were to join Los Blancos.
That move seems like the next logical step for him too – as moving to a club that will operate in the top half may not give him enough playing time to fulfill his potential.
Under Marsch, he may not be among the first names on the squad for next season – but he will make his way into the American’s starting XI if he can adapt well to the challenges of the premier class.
The opportunity to train with top-flight players will also help O’Brien, but if the Terriers win at Wembley today he would probably be well served staying at John Smith’s Stadium, where he is already appreciated.