Leeds United reportedly baulked at paying the release clause needed to land Lewis O’Brien in January – and they could now be made to pay amid claims a new suitor has made the Huddersfield man a top summer priority.
The January window passed by without Leeds managing to get any business done, 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 that failure, Leeds also saw efforts to land Takumi Minamino fail to bear fruit, while links to Kenedy ultimately counted for nothing.
Another man they also considered was Huddersfield midfielder O’Brien. He has been a player of interest to Marcelo Bielsa for some time. Indeed, Leeds first looked at O’Brien during the summer and were linked again in January.
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, an exit clause – believed to be worth £10m – was inserted.
And it was due to that amount that Leeds, according to The Sun, ruled out a fresh move for O’Brien in January.
Now the paper claims Leeds’ hesitancy could come back to haunt them.
Leeds United midfield target on Bournemouth wish-list
That’s because the paper claims O’Brien is now emerging as a target for Championship promotion hopefuls Bournemouth.
They state Cherries boss Scott Parker is a big fan of O’Brien and is targeting him as an addition should they win promotion.
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Furthermore, they state the £10m clause will unlikely be an issue for Bournemouth.
The Cherries, currently second in the Championship and with a five-point cushion to third, spent big in January.
Indeed, Parker brought in Nat Phillips, Todd Cantwell, Siriki Dembele and Kieffer Moore to help secure promotion.
And with O’Brien also wanted, the Town midfielder may well prove their first signing of the summer were they to secure a return to the Premier League.
Lewis O’Brien enjoying life under Carlo Corberan
Huddersfield themselves, however, remain in with a shout of promotion.
They remain fifth in the Championship table following Saturday’s hard-fought goalless draw with Sheffield United.
O’Brien has been a vital cog in their system, with his tireless displays a vital part of their success.
Speaking ahead of Huddersfield’s match against the Blades, O’Brien heaped praise on boss Carlos Corberan.
He said: “I feel like my development (under Carlos) has been massive. Especially in the attacking thirds and my technical play.
“I’ve always been very good at getting around the pitch, and the defensive side of the game was one of my strongest aspects.
“But I’ve been working hard on my attacking side.
“I think that’s been showing in the last couple of games.”
Leeds have since been linked with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny, who will be available on a free.