Why Crystal Palace should try and win the race for Lewis O’Brien
According to Football Insider (h/t Yorkshire Live), Crystal Palace are among a host of Premier League clubs interested in securing the services of highly-rated Huddersfield Town prospect Lewis O’Brien.
Burnley, Newcastle United and Sheffield United are also understood to be vying for the 22-year-old, who has been touted as a future club captain for the Terriers. It has been claimed that Huddersfield are willing to cash in on the midfielder if a suitable offer is put on the table this month. (Football Insider h/t Yorkshire Live)
A youth exponent of Huddersfield, O’Brien had his first taste of competitive football on loan at Bradford City in League One during the 2018-19 season. The Terriers’ relegation from the top-flight opened the door for the youngster to stake a claim for a first-team role last season.
The youngster grabbed his opportunities with both hands, accumulating 2 goals and 4 assists in 38 appearances in the Championship in the previous campaign. O’Brien’s impressive breakthrough season in the second tier last term was enough to earn him the club’s Player of the Year award.
The academy graduate has hit the ground running once again this season, contributing with a goal and 2 assists in 20 league appearances for Huddersfield so far.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace should definitely have one eye on reshuffling their midfield options in the January window. The Eagles aren’t really short of cover in the middle of the park at the moment but with plenty of ageing legs in that department, Roy Hodgson needs to dip into the market for some fresh additions.
James McArthur has been a key player for Palace over the years but is nearing his twilight at 33. The former Scottish international’s contract at Selhurst Park is due to expire at the end of the season and is yet to be offered fresh terms to extend his stay. James McCarthy, 30, has also slipped down the pecking order this season and has been linked with a move to Celtic, with the Irishman also out of contract next summer.
With Max Meyer completely frozen out of the mix, the Eagles should ideally look for a new creative central midfielder to complement summer signing Eberechi Eze. Putting things into context, Lewis O’Brien ticks plenty of boxes at Crystal Palace as an exciting youngster with plenty of room for development.
The 22-year-old has arguably been the brightest spark for Huddersfield despite the club’s struggles in the Championship over the past 12 months. Besides catching the eye with his talent and potential, O’Brien has managed the feat of 30 successive league starts in the Championship last season. That clearly underlines he is physically ready to endure the rigours of playing week in, week out at a high level.
In truth, Palace’s midfield unit is more about industry rather than creativity. The inclusion of a promising youngster like O’Brien, to that end, would go a long way towards improving Hodgson’s dynamics.
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It is clear from the above discussion that Lewis O’Brien would represent an excellent coup for Crystal Palace. The Eagles need to reshuffle their options in the middle with a view to lowering the average age of the squad.
They had a successful raid on the Championship for Eze in the summer and O’Brien is very much a player in a similar mould who looks capable of evolving into a quality player in the Premier League with proper guidance.