Go back a fear years, and Leeds United fans calling Kalvin Phillips the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ was more of a tongue-in-cheek joke. Always loved by the fans for his energy and commitment, prior to Marcelo Bielsa arriving it was never clear if Phillips would quite make good on his enormous talent. However, the midfielder has gone from a box-to-box engine room type player to a midfielder who can make a huge difference in the middle of the park creative. His ability to control the play has been essential to Leeds.
Sadly, the quality of Phillips and his play – which seen him star for England at the UEFA Euro 2020 event – has not gone unnoticed. As such, Leeds are braced for offers for their midfield general. The player is being linked with numerous teams, but it is Manchester City who are most keen. Pep Guardiola sees the player as his ideal long-term fit for a replacement for Fernandinho. While the fee would likely be massive, City have already spent big on English talent with the record-breaking Jack Grealish deal.
As such, we should expect to see some more rumours coming out in the near future. It is quite interesting to see what happens next with this, as Leeds will be in no mood to sell.
Can Leeds be convinced to sell their crown jewel?
A hometown hero with a huge amount of appearances for his club, Leeds fans would loathe to see him leave. Especially for Manchester. However, the problem for Leeds is that the player might see no future for himself at Elland Road.
The poor start to the season also has a knock-on effect. Leeds were expected to crack on this year, pushing for European football. However, two shellackings by Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as a draw with Everton, has left fans far from happy. The team looks to have been ‘found out’ a touch, and without some adjustments they could find themselves out of the European push sooner than they would want.
The revivals of both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur this season gives Leeds another two teams to finish ahead of. The improvement at Aston Villa and Leicester City also makes it hard to see a place in the top eight or nine as likely. While on paper Leeds are one of the most exciting teams in England, a sluggish seasonal start has left some fans worried that the success of the past might not be so easily replicated any longer.
And with so many midfield options for England, Phillips might see himself as a necessary exit to try and keep in that England squad for Qatar 2022. Leeds need to have a strong season this year to try and convince the Leeds man to hang around, and this leaves the player – and club – in a pretty tough spot.