Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Victor Orta keeping cards close to chest as links intensify over late £10m Leeds raid for midfielder

Victor Orta, Leeds United director of football

Leeds United continue to be linked with a late deadline play to sign Lewis O’Brien from Yorkshire neighbours Huddersfield Town.

The Whites have struggled to get business done this month, in particular failing to land 21-year-old Brenden Aaronson from Red Bull Salzburg. Indeed, our exclusive reveals that Leeds are hopeful of getting the deal done – but not until the summer.

Since then, Leeds have been looking to convince Liverpool to let Takumi Minamino leave on loan. Their interest in him comes off the back of Liverpool’s signing of Luis Diaz, together with the potential exit of Crysencio Summerville.

However, Liverpool have spurned the advances from Leeds, with the Reds only willing to consider a straight cash sale only.

Minamino’s versatility would have offered Marcelo Bielsa plenty of options going into the closing months of the season.

Indeed, their campaign has been seriously hampered by a plethora of injuries. Indeed, in their most recent match – a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle – they were missing two of their best midfielders in Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw.

And while Forshaw expects to return to action after the winter break, they remain without Phillips for around another month.

That leaves Leeds looking light in the midfield area – and now The Sun claims Leeds are considering a late window swoop for O’Brien.

The midfielder is well known to Leeds, having been the subject of summer interest from Leeds.

At the time, they failed to secure his signing, leaving O’Brien to negotiate an extension to his deal at Huddersfield.

In that new contract, a £10m exit clause was inserted. And now The Sun claims Leeds director of football Victor Orta may look to trigger that before the window shuts.

Lewis O’Brien remains player of interest to Leeds

The Huddersfield Examiner, however, insisted on Sunday that no offer has yet been made by Leeds.

Lewis O'Brien during the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Huddersfield Town at The Den

However, they accept that Leeds’ position could change at any time on deadline day.

Furthermore, Town are actively looking to bolster their own midfield options should O’Brien to depart.

One name they are being linked with is Chelsea’s young midfielder Tino Anjorin.

The 20-year-old is reportedly being eyed by Carlos Corberan as an addition to his side. Indeed, Thomas Tuchel rates Anjorin highly, but wants him moved out on loan to further his match experience.

For Leeds’ part, they continue to give little away over their intentions, with Orta craftily keeping his cards close to his chest.

Bielsa fussy on who Leeds sign

One factor that may be against Leeds moving late for Lewis O’Brien, however, comes from Phil Hay.

The Athletic’s Leeds oracle claims Leeds boss Bielsa is not overly bothered about adding to his squad this month.

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Leeds United want to sign Kenedy from Chelsea to help their squad depth issues

“[Bielsa] doesn’t want that many players,” said Hay on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast on 28 January.

“I’ve been told by various people this month that he’s not been that fussed about people coming in.

“And I know people are on the outside saying, ‘you don’t have enough, you need this, you could do with more in midfield,’ but going right back to the start, he’s never really relied on the transfer market in the way that so many other head coaches do.

“It is kind of difficult and I can imagine there are probably times when the recruitment team at the club are thinking, ‘we would do with signing him or signing him or we could do with improving this, that or the other,’ but the final decision will always be Bielsa’s. It kind of has to be.”

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