Leeds United’s talismanic midfielder Kalvin Phillips has sent Ronaldo Vieira a touching message after his former teammate made his long-awaited return from injury.
Vieira, now 23 years old, was on the books at Elland Road from 2015-2018. Despite his young age, he broke through to the first team and became a regular starter in the 2016/17 season. The quality he displayed did not go unnoticed.
Indeed, Serie A side Sampdoria swopped for the former England Under-21 international.
The Italians signed him for around £7m – a move which then new boss Marcelo Bielsa sanctioned amid his then unknown plans for Phillips. At the time, Phillips was regarded more as an attacking midfielder, with Bielsa turning him into the deep-lying DM he’s known as today.
Vieira though has endured a troubled time of late, struggling with a nagging muscle injury that has seriously curtailed his game-time. Indeed, the problem limited the 23-year-old to just four appearances last season as a loan spell at Hellas Verona did not go to plan.
And the issue has kept Vieira sidelined for all of this campaign too – until that is, on Wednesday, when he finally appeared again for Samp once again.
That’s after he stepped off the bench to play 30 minutes for the Serie A side in their 4-1 Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus.
Vieira post prompts Kalvin Phillips reply
That prompted Vieira to express his delight on Instagram over his comeback.
“Disappointing result against a good side. But on a personal note after a long period of suffering, I stayed positive and kept working! I’m so happy to be back on the pitch with my team!
“I want to thank everybody who’s been there these past months, from my family to my friends!”
After seeing the post, Kalvin Phillips responded saying: “Love to see it.” That was followed by the love eyes emoji and a heart.
Vieira has been linked with a return to Leeds this month, with United seeking more reinforcements in midfield.
Indeed, a speculative report from Italy just last week claimed Victor Orta was ready to pursue a deal for Vieira.
However, Leeds’ focus is very much elsewhere, with RB Salzburg’s Brenden Aaronson emerging as their top target.
Aaronson move now affected by Augustin case
The Austrian side reportedly value Brenden Aaronson at around the £30m mark. But they know in the current climate that looks unrealistic. Instead a fee nearer the £20m mark is tipped to secure the deal.
Leeds ready to try again for Brenden Aaronson
Bielsa's side saw opening bid worth £15m rejected by Salzburg
Now, a fresh update from Leeds Live had shed new light on the developing situation.
Firstly, the outlet stress the importance of Leeds landing Aaronson this month. In their words, the midfielder is ‘the one and only player they want right now’.
And with midfield injuries biting hard, an Aaronson move is therefore quickly becoming a critical one for Bielsa. And the Leeds Live report allay fears the club’s ongoing wrangle with Jean-Kevin Augustin won’t affect proceedings.
Salzburg’s sister club, RB Leipzig, are currently embroiled in a dispute with Leeds over the French forward.
The issue stems from Augustin’s ill-fated loan spell at Elland Road. That came in the season they won promotion back to the Premier League. An obligation to buy was reportedly in the deal if Leeds won promotion.
However, the Whites did not sign the player permanently, leading Leipzig to take the case to FIFA.
Leeds could be on the hook for £18m if the case goes against them. Indeed, the case will finally go before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in March.
However, despite the dispute with another club in the Red Bull stable, the article states Leeds are ‘confident’ it will not affect their dealings with Salzburg over Aaronson.