Cut-price Championship target emerges as Newcastle Willock alternative


Newcastle United are reportedly set to revive the interest in Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien this summer as Joe Willock looks out of their price range.

O’Brien, 22, has enjoyed a solid Championship season despite the Terriers struggling at the wrong end of the table. The Yorkshire outfit sit 20th in the second-tier standings after winning just 12 league games all season.

Carlos Corberan’s side could still be sucked into the bottom three but it seems likely they will stay in the division. Whatever happens, it appears as though O’Brien will be targeted, according to The Sun.

After signing a three-year contract in 2018, the Colchester-born star was loaned to Bradford City for the 2018-2019 campaign. He impressed and established himself at Huddersfield the following season, making 38 appearances.

And the talented schemer has enjoyed 40 outings this term, scoring three goals. Newcastle were mentioned as possible suitors in January but did not make a move.

Crystal Palace and Sheffield United were also linked in the winter window. It is not known if they still hold an interest but it is likely that other clubs will start circling.

Back in January, it was reported that Huddersfield are willing to sell the player this summer. The pandemic means money is tight and so clubs in the lower leagues will look to cash in to balance the books.

O’Brien an alternative to Willock

Willock has enjoyed an excellent run of form since moving on loan to St James’ Park in January. After scoring just 16 minutes into his debut against Southampton, the former England Under-21 ace has added another three league goals.

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He has helped the Tynesiders pull nine points clear of the relegation zone and they should be safe from the drop. Steve Bruce has made no secret of his desire to keep the Arsenal man in the north east.

Joe Willock TEAMtalk

But the Gunners are said to want £20m for his signature in the off-season. That may be too pricey and the £4m mooted for O’Brien seems a more realistic prospect.

With doubts over the manager’s future and the club’s ownership, there are unlikely to be any big-money deals. Players are sure to be offloaded, with reports that Florian Lejeune and Yoshinari Muto are vulnerable to an exit.

The duo have been loaned out in 2020-2021 and may now be seen as surplus to requirements. Willock would be a signing to excite the fans but O’Brien is a more viable option.

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