Former Preston North End trialist Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh is now at the centre of a tug-of-war between Chelsea, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.
PNE have had strong ties with the Irish market over the years.
Alan Browne really set the ball rolling with a 2014 move from Cork City and more followed.
Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan, Kevin O’Connor and Seani Maguire followed, as did youngster Adam O’Reilly from Browne’s former club Ringmahon Rangers.
Graham Burke was the last notable addition from Ireland with PNE going in a different direction after mixed results.
North End did though use their ties to Cork City to take youngster Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh on trial back in 2021.
Then an Ireland Under-15 international, O’Brien-Whitmarsh emerged on the PNE radar and spent time training with North End.
West Ham United also had a look at O’Brien-Whitmarsh back then as the attacking midfielder scored four times on trial with the Hammers.
O’Brien-Whitmarsh now appears to be a wanted man again though with more Premier League clubs interested.
The Telegraph claim that West Ham are hoping to wrap up a deal for the 17-year-old this summer.
However, London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are also keen and could rival David Moyes for his signature.
It looks like any chance of a move to PNE has gone now with the teenager seemingly heading for the Premier League.
O’Brien-Whitmarsh has already made a first-team impact for Cork, bagging two goals in just 11 games.
North End appear to have missed the boat on O’Brien-Whitmarsh and it will be fascinating to see whether he can become a top-flight star in the coming years.