Newcastle United have re-kindled their interest in Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien.
Arsenal loanee Joe Willock is Steve Bruce’s preferred option for an attack-minded midfielder, but the Gunners’s £20million asking price for his permanent signature has been deemed too expensive in what is expected to be a bargain-hunting summer transfer window due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
O’Brien would be a much cheaper option at around £4m according to The Sun, but although the 22-year-old has performed well for Huddersfield this campaign, his haul of three goals in 40 Championship appearances pale in comparison to Willock’s exploits for the Magpies.
Since joining in January, Willock has scored four goals in just ten appearances, including crucial strikes against West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and most recently Liverpool.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, have endured a tough season, seemingly doing enough to ensure survival but currently occupying a disappointing 20th place.
O’Brien has been a regular fixture in their midfield over the past two seasons, racking up 79 appearances in that short space of time.
The Magpies were indeed linked with the midfielder in January but a move never materialised. Crystal Palace and Sheffield United have also been mentioned in connection with O’Brien, so Newcastle must act quickly and decisively if they are serious about bringing the midfielder in this summer.
With Magpies fans still harbouring animosity towards owner Mike Ashley, reaction to choosing O’Brien, the cheaper alternative, over Willock is unlikely to be positive.
However, O’Brien has proven himself at Championship level and could well make an impact in the topflight. With the season drawing to a close and plenty of clubs sniffing around him, O’Brien may be gearing up for his final two games in a Huddersfield shirt.