Leeds United’s hopes of keeping hold of Ben White in the next transfer window are certainly looking slimmer. The Brighton and Hove Albion defender has been in fine form since arriving at Elland Road last summer.
However, that fine form has not only been noticed by his parent club, who will likely want to give him a run at the Amex. Other clubs in the Premier League are keen, including the Premier League champions in waiting Liverpool.
The Reds have been linked with a move for the £25m-rated (The Sun) centre-back in recent months. Now, speaking on the EFL Podcast this week, Sky Sports commentator Gary Weaver confirmed that Liverpool talent scout Andy O’Brien had been watching the centre-back all season.
It would be doubly upsetting for Leeds if it was O’Brien who ended up helping lure White away from Leeds.
The 40-year-old former Republic of Ireland international is based in his hometown of Harrogate and was at the Leeds United academy until being released at 14. He ended up returning to Elland Road in 2010, eventually staying at the club until 2012.
But it was not always a happy time. He struggled for form and in November 2011, as relayed by the BBC, Simon Grayson stated that O’Brien would ‘never play for the club again’ after refusing to play against Burnley in a Championship fixture.
Leeds rightfully backtracked on that stance after it became apparent O’Brien was suffering from depression and had received treatment at the Sporting Chance Clinic.
At the end of the 2011-12 season, O’Brien was transfer-listed by Neil Warnock as he looked for options abroad. He ended his career in Canada with MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps. After retiring in 2015, O’Brien headed to Liverpool in January 2015 and is now heading up a search on Leeds United’s loan star.
Leeds United fans will be hoping that this former Leeds centre-back does not lure their current starting defender away in the next transfer window.