Burnley are reportedly “very interested” in signing Huddersfield youngster Lewis O’Brien in the summer transfer window.
That is according to journalist Alan Nixon, who tweeted (via @reluctantnicko) that the 20-year-old is a “Dyche type” midfielder and the kind of player that the Clarets want considering their transfer budget.
Burnley. Very interested in excellent young midfielder O'Brien at Huddersfield. Dyche type. Depends on price. Kind of player Clarets wants on their budget.
— Alan Nixon (@reluctantnicko) August 16, 2020
O’Brien established himself in Huddersfield’s first team last season, making 39 appearances (including 36 league starts) and contributing two goals and four assists (as per TransferMarkt).
The 20-year-old has forged a reputation as a tough-tackling midfield enforcer, winning 3.2 tackles per game in the Championship last term along with making 1.2 interceptions per game (as per WhoScored). The former statistic seems even more remarkable when considering that he played mostly as an attacking midfielder rather than at the base of the midfield.
Would you like to have Lewis O'Brien at Burnley?
Sean Dyche does not have a huge overflow of central midfielders, with just Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill and Mace Goodridge (who has yet to make his senior debut) vying for two places in the starting XI. Aside from the relative sparsity of numbers making a case for O’Brien to be signed, the Huddersfield man’s statistics also make for favourable reading compared to the Clarets’ central midfielders.
When Danny Drinkwater’s two successful tackles in his one appearance last season are discounted, Westwood won the most tackles per game of any midfielder in Dyche’s squad with 1.5, less than half of O’Brien’s average. Also, of the Clarets’ midfield men, only Brownhill had a better interceptions per game average (1.4). [via WhoScored]
Perhaps the man most under threat from O’Brien’s possible arrival is Cork. The 31-year-old posted match averages of 1.2 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 0.9 dribbles and 0.4 key passes per game last season (as per WhoScored) – lower than the Terriers man for each of those metrics.
Also, with Westwood starting more often than the ex-Southampton man (35 to 30) in 2019/20, he could be the one at greater risk of losing his place in the team.
With Cork approaching the latter stages of his career and O’Brien only starting out on his, it seems to make perfect sense for Burnley to target the Huddersfield youngster, particularly with his figures reading so impressively in comparison to the more experienced Clarets midfielder.
Burnley fans, do you think O’Brien would go straight into Dyche’s first XI if he ends up at Turf Moor? Comment below with your views!
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