Solskjaer won't blame Fernandes despite penalty miss
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Manchester United would have to pay £60million if they wanted to sign Kalvin Phillips from bitter rivals Leeds United, according to reports. United are targeting a defensive midfielder in the upcoming transfer windows and have reportedly identified Phillips as the perfect man for the job.
The Old Trafford club splashed the cash in the summer, spending around £120million to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
But despite the eye-catching transfer window, the club still has some glaring weaknesses, which have been exposed in recent matches.
United have lost three of their last four games in all competitions, with defeats against Young Boys, West Ham and Aston Villa putting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure.
Fans have long been crying out for reinforcements in holding midfield, where Solskjaer can currently call upon Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic.
The club have previously been linked with West Ham star Declan Rice, but according to the Daily Star, Ed Woodward is concerned by the Hammers’ £90m valuation of the England international.
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Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham is another option, but United would face tough competition from Liverpool for the 18-year-old.
That has therefore led United to mark Phillips as their ‘preferred alternative’ because he is under contract at Leeds until 2024 and is valued in the region of £60m by the club.
Phillips is hugely attached to his hometown club and would reportedly be reluctant to leave if United made a bid for his services.
However, fears Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa could quit Elland Road at the end of this season and the chance to compete in the Champions League could become important factors in his future.
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Phillips has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last year following Leeds’ promotion to the Premier League.
The 25-year-old has gone from being a top Championship performer to a top flight and England regular.
Gareth Southgate spotted his talent and installed him alongside Rice in England’s midfield and the pairing helped the Three Lions go all the way to the Euro 2020 final over the summer.
He has continued to be a regular in Leeds’ midfield this season, but Bielsa’s side have made a rocky start to their second campaign in the Premier League.
The Whites currently sit 18th in the table having failed to win any of their opening six top flight league matches for the first time since 1935/36.
If Leeds’ poor form continues then it could play into the hands of United when it comes to trying to lure Phillips away from Elland Road.
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