Leeds United opinion: Whites should revive interest in Callum O’Dowda
Leeds Unitedhave been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Bristol City winger Callum O’Dowda ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Times reporting that the 23-year-old Irishman wants a fresh start.
The Times understands that O’Dowda is unlikely to sign a new contract after being frozen out of the first-team at Ashton Gate in the latter stages of the campaign.
The winger hasn’t featured for Bristol City since early March despite having regained fitness from an injury and a number of Championship and Premier League clubs are keen to lure him away from the Robins.
O’Dowda is believed to be unhappy with the kind of treatment he has been given since his refusal to put pen to paper on a new deal and Leeds United might have something to look forward to in their pursuit of the highly-rated 23-year-old.
Back in January, Sky Sports linked the Republic of Ireland international with a move to Elland Road, with manager Marcelo Bielsa interested in securing the services of the versatile winger.
A move failed to materialize despite the player’s contract stand-off with his current club but O’Dowda looks sure to head for the exit door this time around.
The Times understands that Bristol City would be looking to sell Callum O’ Dowda for a fee of around £6million rather than risk losing him for free in a year’s time. The Whites are likely to change their stance in the transfer market after missing out on promotion to the Premier League.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked all set for a return to the top-flight for the first time in 15 years but a poor run of form over the Easter period followed by a dramatic 4-2 defeat against Derby Countyin the second leg of the playoff semi-finals ensured that the Yorkshire giants stayed in the Championship for yet another season.
As things stand, the best thing that the Whites can do is put all the disappointment behind them and start right from scratch once again next season, although it’s much easier said than done.
To put things into perspective, Leeds should be looking at some quality wide players in the summer transfer window to add more depth to their options down the flanks.
Man City loanee Jack Harrison is likely to return to his parent club, meaning that Bielsa would have the likes of Jack Clarke, Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez as options out wide next season. And that is exactly why someone like Callum O’Dowda can add a lot of value to Leeds’s ranks this summer.
Jack Clarke enjoyed his breakthrough at Elland Road this past season and Leeds should be looking to use him a lot more next term but O’Dowda is a more established player and his playing style should suit Bielsa’s philosophy.
The Argentinian likes his wingers to run with drive, determination and directness to attack the opposition’s full-backs and the Irishman has all those attributes in abundance.
While essentially a left-sided player, O’Dowda is capable of playing on either side of the pitch and also in a central attacking role behind the striker.
His versatility should make him an exciting proposition for Leeds and the 23-year-old’s flair and trickery is likely to add that cutting edge to the team’s attack.
He racked up 4 goals and 4 assists from just 20 starts for Bristol City this season, which is enough evidence of his goalscoring and playmaking abilities as a wide player.
Still only 23, O’Dowda has plenty of time to make significant improvements to his game and working under an experienced manager like Bielsa should do a world of good for his development.
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That said, the Whites should make a renewed attempt to sign the Irishman this summer and they could possibly have a gem on their hands in the years to come should he go on to fulfil his potential.