Huddersfield chairman lifts lid on Leeds failure to secure Terriers midfielder
Lid lifted over Leeds failure to secure Lewis O’Brien
Huddersfield Town club chairman Phil Hodgkinson look to the airwaves recently when he appeared on BBC Radio Leeds to discuss the many attempts by Leeds United director of football Victor Orta to bring central midfielder Lewis O’Brien to Elland Road during the summer transfer window.
Phil Hodgkinson has given Huddersfield’s account of the Lewis O’Brien chase this summer.
Says Leeds went up to £13m including add-ons and they still said no.
O’Brien predictably keen on making the switch to play under Bielsa.#lufc https://t.co/axfrUaMgyx
— Beren Cross (@BerenCross) September 9, 2021
Leeds was desperate to add to the first-team squad under Marcelo Bielsa this summer after a highly successful promotion campaign, and Orta tried not once, not twice, but four times to secure the services of the 22-year-old Huddersfield academy graduate, with a final bid reaching up to £13million.
To make matters more frustrating, O’Brien himself is said to be keen to ply his trade at Elland Road and would love the chance to play under Bielsa. To miss out on such a gettable player would certainly measure up as a frustrating saga in an incredibly important summer window.
When speaking with the BBC, Hodgkinson laid bare the situation and why the Terriers ended up not parting ways with the Colchester native;
“To be honest with you, it wasn’t anything to do with the valuation. The fourth offer we rejected was £13m. The issue was not the valuation, the issue was the structure of the offer, so what I have to consider, having spoken to Lewis, [was] Lewis wanted to play football, that’s what Lewis wants to do, which is fantastic to hear.
From my perspective, it’s about how much of that £13m is guaranteed, it’s about how much of it is add-ons and what those add-ons are made up of. It’s also about how much cash you’re getting through the door because we were under no illusion and we were looking at replacing Lewis.
We would have been paying out seven figures, significant seven figures, to replace Lewis, and coming out of Covid we had to make sure the cash we got through the door covered what we had to pay out to replace Lewis.
So the reality was it wasn’t the amount, £13m was the fourth offer we rejected, it was the structure we rejected. It didn’t work for us as a football club, and my concern was the fact Leeds wouldn’t go up to a structure we wanted, which was a reasonable one. Even the player’s agent said so.
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.”
Note: Additional quotes can be found here
A chance to add depth in central midfield missed
Recent news regarding Leeds U18 starlet Joe Snowdon training with the Whites first-team during the international break lends weight to the notion that Marcelo Bielsa is clawing for central options in a 2021-22 Premier League campaign where Leeds was hoping to build on their superlative post-promotion campaign last term.
Bielsa has just four midfielders to call upon this season, with key central duo Kalvin Phillips & Mateusz Klich supported by Jamie Shackleton, and Adam Forshaw; hardly impressive reading for a side that wants to push further up the table.
Such is the situation that the likes of Rodrigo, Stuart Dallas, Robin Koch, and Pascal Struijk have all deputized in midfield or in a holding-midfielder capacity dating back to last season, and though Snowdon has impressed with his recent training opportunity, the need for Leeds to arrest their lack of central depth is certainly a pressing one.