Huddersfield Town chairman Phil Hodgkinson admits the club rejected a £13 million bid from Premier League giants Leeds United for Lewis O’Brien, speaking to Yorkshire Live.
It’s not often a Championship club – one with a budget the size of Huddersfield’s in any case – are willing to turn down an eight-figure offer for one of their players.
But O’Brien is more than just a squad player under Carlos Corberan.
Colchester-born but taught the Terriers way since his days in the Huddersfield academy, the 22-year-old is integral to the way Corberan – Marcelo Bielsa’s old protégé at Elland Road – wants his team to play; aggressive off the ball but confident and commanding with it too.
Leeds were determined to bring a midfielder to West Yorkshire in the transfer window – one blessed with both technique and a tigerish tenacity – and O’Brien quickly emerged as their number one target.
But while a £13 million deal would have made O’Brien the third-most expensive export in Huddersfield’s history, the offer still wasn’t enough to tempt Hodgkinson into a sale.
Will Lewis O’Brien regret missing out on a move to Leeds United?
“We received and rejected four offers from Leeds United. The offers, as I say, were not where they needed to be for us to let go one of our best players and, more importantly, to replace him,” says Hodgskinson.
“Lewis was aware of the interest from Leeds, as were we, and Lewis was fantastic.
“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.’
“We explained why (the offer) wasn’t acceptable to us, and there was no negative response at all from Lewis.
“The fourth offer we rejected was £13m. 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.
“We weren’t that far apart on the guaranteed amount and the structure of the add-ons. It was £1 million in reality.”
Bielsa will hope Kalvin Phillips stays free of injury this season with Adam Forshaw – who hasn’t played a league game in two years due to fitness issues of his own – providing back-up.