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O'Dea's heart set on sealing permanent move to Leeds

DARREN O'DEA wants to join Leeds on a permanent basis and would like it if a deal was completed before the end of the transfer window.

The Dubliner is on a season-long loan from Celtic so there is no particular hurry on formalising a full-time switch. However, he would like to tie his future down as soon as possible after admitting it's the logical step for the sake of his career.

O'Dea has enjoyed this loan stint in the Championship, and the 24-year-old was actually the most senior member of the Leeds back four in Monday's 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.

"If something could be done in January, it certainly would appeal to me to move," said O'Dea. "I'm at the stage of my life, and career, where I need to settle.

"I have been on loan three times now -- this my third year in a row -- and with a wife and kid, I want to get a permanent base. You want to get a home, not a house that you rent.

"Staying with Leeds is certainly attractive because they, like Celtic, are a massive club. Hopefully something will happen, if not now then in the summer."

Of course, O'Dea has Euro 2012 to look forward to in June. He is now established as Ireland's third-choice centre-half, behind Sean St Ledger in the pecking order.

There's a possibility he could be joined at Leeds by St Ledger, but the 27-year-old looks set for Ipswich instead after a troubled period at Leicester. Paul Jewell was unable to complete a deal with the player ahead of last night's showdown with Birmingham.

Naturally, O'Dea would love to rub shoulders with the glittering stars of Spain, Italy and Croatia, but he acknowledges it will be a serious battle.

"I'm very proud to have been a part of just the fifth Irish squad to qualify for a major championship finals," he said.

"But I want to be more than just part of it. I have to ask myself, what can I do next? Where can I go next? I want more. But qualifying isn't enough. We've got to look forward to something better."

The Home Farm product believes that Ireland may well encounter one of the best sides of all time when they face the Spaniards in Poland this summer.

"We don't fear anyone but Spain, let's face it, are the best team in the world now -- and may be the best there has ever been in football history.

"Italy, Croatia and ourselves will all believe we can make it to the quarter-finals. With the exception of Spain, we will all be pushing for second place."

Irish Independent