Leeds United will now have to pay an increased fee to sign Lewis O’Brien amid claims the midfielder is close to signing a new three-year contract with Huddersfield Town.
The Whites ended their summer window with a £25m deal to sign Manchester United winger Daniel James. The winger has been a long-standing target of Marcelo Bielsa, who almost brought in him from Swansea back in 201.
However, the failure to strengthen their midfield remains a missed opportunity for Bielsa’s side. That’s not through lack of trying though and they saw efforts to prise away O’Brien narrowly fail.
At the time, the midfielder had just under a year left on his Town deal. And with Leeds reportedly offering £13m, Huddersfield opted to reject the deal. Indeed, it was reported that by raising their bid by a further £1m, they would have got the deal done. To that end, Victor Orta has been brandished his own worst enemy.
Peter Hodgkinson, Huddersfield’s chairman, lifted the lid on Leeds’ interest earlier this month.
“That said to me he was going to Leeds as a squad player, because if you want someone and you want them to come and play in the Premier League [you meet the seller’s demands].
“We weren’t that far apart on the guaranteed amount and the structure of the add-ons, we weren’t that far apart, it was a million pounds in reality.”
However, Huddersfield’s priority was always to tie O’Brien to a new deal. And now, as per Football Insider, the midfielder has agreed terms on a new and improved deal to keep him at the John Smith’s Stadium until 2024.
Leeds not giving up on Noa Lang
Leeds still remain interested in attacker Noa Lang, as Kalvin Phillips touted to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Huddersfield will regard the new deal as a major coup, given O’Brien‘s willingness to make the switch to Leeds.
And with Leeds reported to be still watching the player amid talk of a January raid, any new deal will hit them harder in the pocket.
Indeed, as per reports, Huddersfield will now command a fee of £20m to move on their prized target.
And that now may well be a fee too steep for Leeds to meet.
O’Brien still keen on Premier League move
Of course for O’Brien now, the challenge will be to keep improving and ensuring Leeds’ interest wasn’t a one-off.
Hodgkinson added: “Lewis said ‘Of course I want to play in the Premier League and playing for someone like Bielsa, with his reputation, can only make me better, but I understand the offer’s got to be right for the football club’.
“‘It will not affect me in any way. It will not affect my commitment, what I do in training, what I do on the pitch. I just want to play football, that’s all I want to do’.
“Lewis was fantastic. There were no additional knocks on the door, when each offer came in we discussed it with Lewis and his agent and we explained why it wasn’t acceptable to us, and there was absolutely no negative response at all from Lewis.”