Leeds United have been warned by a controversial pundit they have “no chance” of securing Kalvin Phillips to a new deal – as Marcelo Bielsa provided a fitness update on the midfielder following his substitution against Brentford.
We exclusively revealed back in September that Leeds were in talks with Phillips over a new deal that would make him their highest earner. His current agreement comes to an end in summer 2024. And there are no shortage of admirers for the midfielder, who is England’s national side’s player of the year.
However, the club are yet to reach an agreement with the player over an extension. Furthermore, there have been rumblings of discontent behind the scenes with claims that “all is not right” between Phillips and coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Bielsa denies Kalvin Phillips rumours
Phillips, though, has been quick to deny talk of a falling-out with his manager. Bielsa has also spoken at great length to deny such claims in a recent press conference.
“It’s what’s common in the world of football,” said the Argentine. “It’s difficult to express yourself over things that didn’t happen, that there’s nothing behind and that they are expressed as a reality.
“There’s things that correspond to the private part of a relationship. So perhaps the media talks about these things that are hidden but this is a next step.
“This was the spread of something that didn’t happen at all. What I’m saying is, it’s a way the press are. The objective is very clear: it’s to bring attention with any type of resource.”
Nonetheless, that has not prevented controversial pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor claiming he doesn’t expect Phillips to sign a new deal after all.
Having subbed him off during the recent 0-0 draw at Brighton, Agbonlahor talked again of the discord between player and manager.
“Someone like Phillips should only not play if he’s injured or he’s tired,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider. “Otherwise, he plays every minute.
“Somethings not right and they have to get it right. There’s no chance of him signing a new contract at the moment.”
Bielsa coy on Phillips injury update
Of more pressing concern for Leeds is the fitness of Phillips ahead of a busy and testing run of fixtures.
That’s after Phillips was withdrawn after 55 minutes of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brentford. Leaving the field shortly after Brentford’s equaliser to make it 1-1, Phillips went straight down the tunnel after signalling to the bench to come off.
With Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool next on the horizon, Leeds will hope their talismanic midfielder is available.
Leeds also have worries over defender Liam Cooper, who limped off after just 14 minutes in some discomfort.
Bielsa, though, was unable to provide much of an update when questioned over the pair.
“At the moment I do not know nor how long they will take to recover,” he said.
Cooper’s injury will also be a concern. The skipper has hardly put a foot wrong this season and Leeds missed his authority and organisation through the remainder of the 2-2 stalemate.
United had Charlie Cresswell on the bench in the absence of Pascal Struijk. Bielsa, though, instead brought on Jack Harrison, tweaking his formation as a result of Cooper’s withdrawal.