Leeds United have been backed to sign Louie Sibley from Derby County in January for a bargain fee.
Derby entered administration last week amid a tricky financial situation. The club have been deducted 12 points as a result, which moves them to the bottom of the Championship. Things are likely to get worse before they get better for the club, who now will likely have to sell off some of their assets.
In turn, that could lead to opportunities for other clubs to pluck their top talent in the January transfer window.
One player who could be on his way out is Sibley, who was already attracting interest from Leeds throughout last season.
There was little talk of a transfer in the summer, though, despite Leeds searching for a new midfielder.
Birmingham-born Sibley came through the youth ranks at Derby and has been a first-team player since 2019. He made 32 appearances in all competitions last season and became an England under-20 international this month.
The 20-year-old seems to have a bright future and consequently could be one of the players Derby sell on when the transfer window opens in January.
According to their former assistant coach Kevin Phillips, Leeds will have the chance to go back in for Sibley in the winter.
Assessing Derby’s situation for Football Insider, Phillips said: “Unfortunately, when someone is having a tough time there are always predators waiting to jump and take advantage of the situation.
“It hurts me to see what is happening at Derby having spent three years there as a coach.
“Mel Morris did great things with the stadium and the training ground there but if you’re not careful it can come back to bite you on the backside. We have seen it happen to Leeds over the years.
“There is an opportunity now for clubs to sign the good players Derby have got for next to nothing. There will probably be some daft offers going in. Derby will need the money unless they find a buyer by then.
“It’s another opportunity for Leeds to sign Louie Sibley. I know very well and let me tell you he’d be a brilliant signing for them.”
Leeds know all about the potential to be found in the Championship having seen several of their own players thrive there before progressing to Premier League level.
In addition, they made Lewis O’Brien of Huddersfield Town a top summer target. They could not strike a deal though and he ended up extending his contract with the Terriers.
Marcelo Bielsa would still like one more midfielder if possible in January. Sibley may be a cost-effective option unless they are willing to splash the cash on a bigger name.
Leeds given Phillips fears
Meanwhile, somewhat surprising claims have emerged about interest from Manchester United in Kalvin Phillips.
Phillips has spent his entire career so far at Leeds and his patience at reaching the top level has paid off. After a positive debut season in the Premier League, he was a cornerstone of the England side that reached the Euro 2020 final.
Manchester United linked with Leeds' Kalvin Phillips
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As a result of his rise to prominence, Phillips may be rewarded with a huge new Leeds contract – as we exclusively revealed. Some of their signings from last summer earn more than him, so he could get a rise that reflects his true value.
But there is also the chance that Leeds will have to fend off interest from richer clubs in the months ahead.
According to the Daily Star, Man Utd are now looking at Phillips as an alternative to England partner Declan Rice, who so far has been their main defensive midfield target.
The report claims Leeds would be looking for a minimum of £60m before even considering selling him.
From the player’s perspective, he remains keen to continue at Leeds. However, if Marcelo Bielsa leaves at the end of the season – he only signs one-year contracts – he could contemplate his own future.
Whether he would choose Man Utd as his next destination seems doubtable, but anything is possible.