By Alex McLeish

5th Aug, 2021 | 8:00am

McLeish hails Leeds masterplan amid major update on formal O'Brien bid

Alex McLeish has claimed Leeds United have copied Rangers’ transfer strategy after they tabled a bid for Huddersfield midfielder Lewis O’Brien.

The former Gers boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 22-year-old could be seen as cover for Kalvin Phillips at Elland Road.

As revealed by Football Insider (July 30th), Leeds have opened talks to sign O’Brien after missing out on Conor Gallagher.

It is understood the midfielder is keen to join Marcelo Bielsa’s squad if a deal can be done although the latest from a Leeds source to Football Insider is that Huddersfield have knocked back a “big” offer.

The Whites are in the market for cover and competition for the likes of Phillips, Mateusz Klich and Stuart Dallas.

Leeds have been long-term admirers of the Huddersfield star and they tracked his progress closely last season.

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McLeish heralded the scouts at Elland Road for targeting younger talent to bolster their squad.

He compared the Whites’ pursuit of O’Brien to the transfer policy up at Rangers.

“Rangers have ploughed the fields looking for younger players to come in,” McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.

“You see Leeds United doing the same kind of thing. A cover for Kalvin Phillips or whatever.

“The kid from Huddersfield is another one where you have to say the Leeds recruitment team are doing a great job there.

“But again, time will tell whether these players come to total fruition.”

Rangers signed the likes of Calvin Bassey (19), Ianis Hagi (21), Cedric Itten and Scott Wright (both 23) to bolster their squad last season.

Meanwhile, Leeds have shown faith in youth by signing 20-year-old goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson as backup to Illan Meslier.

In other news, two Leeds United players will be thrilled by confirmed transfer news, according to Noel Whelan.