Leeds Utd ace Kalvin Phillips knows what must be done for the sake of his career after a report detailed the state of Man Utd and Man City’s transfer interest.
The 26-year-old has been Leeds’ most consistent performer for many a year. Phillips was instrumental in helping Leeds to win promotion back to the Premier League under former boss Marcelo Bielsa. His performances in the Championship were of such a high standard that his maiden England call-up came when he was still in the second tier.
However, Phillips has missed vast swathes of the current campaign through injury and his absences have hit Leeds United hard.
The Whites currently sit one point above the drop zone, though 18th-placed Burnley have an extra game to play.
According to the Mirror, should Leeds fail to beat the drop, Phillips will be on the move.
The newspaper acknowledge the boyhood Leeds fan would be ‘reluctant’ to leave his hometown club. However, it’s stated he knows he will have little choice but to depart for the sake of his career.
Both West Ham and Aston Villa bid for Phillips in January. The Hammers’ offering was reportedly around the £50m mark, though understandably, Leeds were in no mood to entertain a sale at that time.
Their situation would be entirely different if relegated, and the Mirror reckon a move to Manchester might be more likely.
Manchester United are known to have scouted Phillips multiple times this season. Erik ten Hag is on the lookout for elite midfield options with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both on the way out.
Man Utd’s loss Man City’s gain?
However, Kalvin Phillips has reportedly made it clear to those around him a move to Old Trafford will not occur. Their loss may be Man City’s gain.
As yet, Pep Guardiola’s side have only sparingly been linked with the Leeds talisman. But per the Mirror, their circumstances have now changed.
Fernandinho is due to leave after a decade of faultless service at the club. What’s more, the Daily Mail recently revealed Ilkay Gundogan has been told he is free to find a new club.
That would leave Rodri as the sole player capable of operating at the base of midfield, thus opening the door for a Phillips move.
The Mirror state Guardiola has identified Phillips as an ideal target. Both he and City sporting director, Txiki Begiristain, reportedly view him as a more viable option than West Ham’s Declan Rice, who may cost upwards of £100m.
Various reports have put the potential fee for Phillips around the £50m mark. Given Erling Haaland is expected to arrive this summer, a Phillips deal is far more manageable than Rice’s in the same window.
City have also reportedly scouted Phillips on multiple occasions this season.
Where should Kalvin Phillips go?
The obvious answer to that question from Leeds fans would be nowhere. However, if they suffer relegation on Sunday, a Phillips exit may be inevitable.
The Mirror added West Ham and Aston Villa are expected to maintain their interest in the midfielder. A move to either of those clubs would likely see Phillips be a regular starter week in, week out.
That particular guarantee cannot be made by Man City given the presence of Rodri. Furthermore, neither he or Phillips are particularly suited to playing either side of the lone holding midfielder. Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are unmoveable in those positions anyway.
Yet City will fully expect to go deep into four competitions next year as they often do. With their seasons producing 50-60 matches per campaign, there would be plenty of opportunity for Phillips to rotate with Rodri.
City would also be easily capable of tripling his wages and the Mirror noted he would find it difficult to turn down the opportunity to work with Guardiola.
If Leeds do go down and City’s interest firms up, a move to the Etihad makes the most sense in our eyes.