Leeds United have been strongly linked with a move for Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien.
Reports have suggested talks between the clubs are already underway and the Whites could be set to raid their former under-23s manager Carlos Corberan, now in charge of the Terriers, for arguably his most prized asset.
Rumours linking the 22-year-old with a move to Elland Road have intensified since it was reported Leeds had missed out on Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher, and it appears O’Brien has been identified as an alternative option.
Making the leap from the Championship to the Premier League can be a difficult one, especially when the player in question has hardly been competing at the top end of the second tier.
However, Leeds Live have identified three reasons a move to Elland Road could be the ideal next step for O’Brien.
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From the apprentice to the master
Huddersfield head coach Corberan worked closely with Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa during his time at Elland Road, linking up with the senior coaching team as well as leading the under-23s.
He will have undoubtedly learnt plenty from the Argentine and there have been signs that Corberan has sought to implement ideas similar to the ones Bielsa has had success with at Leeds.
There are differences, of course, but ball retention and quick pressing are both components of their styles and consequently, the transition for O’Brien would not be too difficult.
He has become a key figure for the Terriers due to his tenacity and composure on the ball, two traits which would make him a suitable candidate for a role in Bielsa’s midfield.
Lewis O’Brien has been linked with a move to Leeds United.
No crowded field to compete in
It is no secret the three central midfield positions are where Leeds lack strength in depth, as Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk and Stuart Dallas were all used there last season despite it not being their natural role.
When fit, Kalvin Phillips is the natural choice as the deepest of the midfielders but ahead of him, O’Brien could find himself seriously competing for the role occupied mostly by Dallas or Mateusz Klich.
He has an advantage over Adam Forshaw in that he has played regular football for the last two years, whilst Jamie Shackleton has yet to earn Bielsa’s trust there and has been used as a right-back in pre-season.
There is still competition, but Leeds have hardly stockpiled central midfielders and O’Brien would be able to compete for a starting berth
Bielsa has a penchant for throwing players in at the deep end regardless of experience in the division and more often than not, his risks pay off.
O’Brien does not have a single Premier League appearance to his name, but can take inspiration from numerous inexperienced players who in recent years, have burst on to the scene under Bielsa.
Struijk is perhaps the most recent example having found himself playing regular Premier League football last season despite only being a bit-part player in the Championship. A year before, a young centre-back fresh from a loan spell in League One named Ben White was given the trust of the Argentine.
O’Brien does not have Premier League pedigree but at Leeds, it is not required and a move to Elland Road would not necessarily spell the end of regular game time for the 22-year-old.