Manchester City flop Kalvin Phillips is reportedly at the top of the transfer shortlist at Manchester United in the summer, as Erik ten Hag sees him as the “perfect fit”.
Phillips’ spell at the Etihad has been disappointing for both himself and the Citizens. Indeed, Pep Guardiola thought he was getting one of the Premier League’s best midfielders when he paid £42million for him in 2022.
It seemed a fair assumption that Phillips’ level would rise when moving to the best side in the country, after he’d starred for Leeds in the top flight the two seasons prior.
However, the lights have seemed too bright for him at City, and he’s not managed to get close to the level of Rodri, having only played a handful of times in either season he’s been with the club.
If it wasn’t already obvious it wasn’t going to happen for Phillips at City, it’s been all but confirmed that he’ll be on his way soon by Guardiola, who recently stated: “I visualise my team and select a team and I struggle to see him.”
A January exit has seemed likely for some time, with Tottenham, Newcastle and Juventus among those interested in the midfielder.
Sources recently told TEAMtalk that a midfielder is a priority for Spurs in the winter, and while the Magpies currently look favourite to sign Phillips, a move to north London shouldn’t be ruled out.
It might well be that he’s signed by any interested side on loan, with a view to making the move permanent beyond that.
Man Utd line up shock Phillips interest
According to The Sun, that’s a likely course of action, but come the summer, Manchester United will make a shock attempt to sign their rivals’ player.
That’s as United boss Ten Hag is said to be a “big fan” of the midfielder despite his lack of minutes at club level over the course of the last two seasons.
“United are watching the situation with Phillips very carefully,” a source told The Sun.
“He is likely to go out on loan in January, but he will then be looking for a permanent switch in the summer, and Ten Hag wants to be right at the front of the queue.
“He is a fan of the way Phillips plays, and thinks his style is perfectly suited to United and to the philosophy he is trying to instil in the group.”
Phillips transfer works for both rivals
It’s been reported that new minority owner of United, sir Jim Ratcliffe, wants largely to recruit English players, and would therefore welcome the signing of Phillips, while City would be happy to sell.
“Plus, the new investors want the club to focus on investing in and developing English players, and Phillips still remains one of the best English players in the Premier League,” the source added.
“It wouldn’t be the first time a player has moved from City to United, but it’s always controversial.
“There’s a feeling that Guardiola wouldn’t stand in Phillips’ way. The move to City simply hasn’t worked out and Guardiola is keen for the situation to be resolved as fast as it can be. ”
While he’s clearly short on minutes, and therefore can’t find his best form, a move to United would give Phillips a chance to thrive and get back to the top of his game.
While it was suggested when he was leaving Leeds that the midfielder wouldn’t consider playing for the Red Devils, given the sides are rivals, after being pushed to the side at City, the chance to be a fixture of any big side, no matter who they are, would be hard to pass up.