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3 alternatives Leeds United must target as door closes on January pursuit early

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Leeds United can officially call off their interest in Lewis O’Brien after the midfielder signed a new contract at Huddersfield Town.

Leeds were active in the transfer window as Marcelo Bielsa looked to add cover in a few key areas throughout the summer.

However, one position he couldn’t find his man was in central midfield, as the club failed firstly to sign Conor Gallagher, and then Huddersfield Town’s Lewis O’Brien.

After revelation from Victor Orta of the club’s struggles to reach the correct valuation for the 22-year-old, Leeds have had to make do without bringing in a new midfielder.

Now, any potential later interest in the Terriers star has been quashed by the player’s new contract, keeping him at the Championship outfit until 2025.

As he was the second choice of the window for us, he certainly won’t have been the only player we could have targeted.

Here, we take a look at three other names the club should turn their attention to ahead of any possible January swoop

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

The first name is someone who would certainly fit the bill for us in a similar way that Stuart Dallas does.

The Arsenal man spent last season on loan at West Brom and while they were relegated, Maitland-Niles benefitted from regular playing time.

He had struggled to find regular minutes in midfield but shone for the Baggies there and has a taste for more, as his Instagram outburst highlighted near the recent transfer deadline.

His versatility and competence in possession could be a real asset for Leeds, as well as his ability to press well and recover the ball in good areas.

It’s clear he would want to be a central midfielder wherever he would potentially move to, and we could offer that to him.

The sticking point here is that the Gunners would want a fair bit of money for him. Perhaps a loan-to-buy?

Louie Sibley

The next is perhaps a similar investment to O’Brien in the sense we wouldn’t be signing someone who walks into our lineup.

Sibley is a player that Leeds have fancied in the past – as per The Athletic – and that interest may be piqued right now.

The Rams have gone into administration and we know exactly what that entails when it comes to their star players and valuable commodities.

While he hasn’t continued to set the Championship alight as he did when he first emerged on the scene, he’s still only just turned 20 and is clearly someone the club like the look of.

An attacking midfielder by trade, he could help Leeds add a more natural option to that position instead of being forced into shoehorning a striker in there.

Kelechi Nwakali

The last is a name from far further afield, coming from Spanish outfit Huesca.

Nwakali caught attention from Leeds scouts last season after his impressive performances on loan at Alcorcon, via The Athletic also.

The energetic midfielder has presented similar qualities both in and out of possession to Mateusz Klich and one would expect he would be open to a return to England after departing from Arsenal in 2019.

He’s someone who would clearly take more time to settle in than any other given that he’d be moving from Spain.

However, reported interest is telling that the club do see a good fit in the 23-year-old.

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.