Leeds United could complete unfinished business by signing Huddersfield Town ace Lewis O’Brien, and the midfielder’s future could be determined as early as next week, TEAMtalk understands.
The 23-year-old has once again been one of the stand-out performers in the Championship this season. The Huddersfield midfielder has pulled the strings in the engine room and has guided the Terriers into contention for promotion.
Indeed, Huddersfield finished the season in third and will now run the gauntlet that is the play-offs.
First up is Luton Town with the first leg of their semi-final taking place on Friday. The second leg will be played next Monday, May 16.
However, TEAMtalk has been told Huddersfield have an added incentive in their quest for promotion – O’Brien’s future at the club could depend on it.
It is believed that Lewis O’Brien does have a release clause in his contract that could allow him to leave for around £12m.
And given the form of the 23-year-old, it is highly unlikely that he won’t be on the move unless Town can come through the play-offs.
If they do, that will present them with a far greater chance of retaining their vice-captain. Failure to do so will almost certainly see him snapped up by one of the many interested Premier League sides, including Leeds United.
Leeds have unfinished business
The Whites are understood to be ready to pounce after chasing O’Brien last summer. Links with the midfielder also continued throughout the winter window.
Leeds were on the lookout for midfield reinforcements to lighten the load on Kalvin Phillips. In the end, however, Marcelo Bielsa did not add to his midfield with the return from injury for Adam Forshaw deemed satisfactory enough.
That decision – along with many others at Elland Road this season – has backfired. Though if Huddersfield fail to win promotion, Leeds could rectify it under Jesse Marsch 12 months on.
Of course, any move to West Yorkshire would also depend on Leeds retaining their own Premier League status.
Should both Leeds and Huddersfield be facing seasons in the Championship next year, plenty of other top flight sides could try their hand.
We understand the likes of Wolves, Crystal Palace, Burnley, Brighton and Southampton are all keen to sign the classy O’Brien.
Lewis O’Brien to Leeds, yes or no?
O’Brien has bagged three goals and three assists in the current campaign, though his influence extends far beyond simple stats.
His status as a vice-captain indicates the leadership qualities he possesses and his calming influence is something Leeds have lacked all season.
Speculation continues to swirl with regards to a Kalvin Phillips exit. However, the chances of the boyhood Leeds fan leaving would appear remote if they beat the drop.
It is only in that scenario that a renewed push to sign O’Brien would materialise. A Phillips-O’Brien tandem looks to be an upgrade on what Marsch already has.
Mateusz Klich and Forshaw are the American’s two other recognised centre-midfielders. Lewis Bate was given a run-out against Arsenal, though the youngster remains a work in progress.
Forshaw has persistently struggled with injuries. While doubts remain as to whether Klich is of the standard Leeds require in the top flight.
An O’Brien move – should Leeds stay up – makes a whole lot of sense on paper.