Kalvin Phillips is 'an exceptional talent' says pundit
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Manchester United have started to explore a deal for Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips worth around £50million, according to reports. The England international has been in fine form for club and country over the last 12 months. And while a move to Old Trafford would be controversial, talk of a possible crossing on the divide is starting to gather pace.
Manchester United want to sign a new midfielder this summer, with Nemanja Matic already confirming his exit and Paul Pogba likely to follow.
And The Athletic say the Red Devils have started to probe a £50m deal for Phillips, who has been a consistent performer for Leeds during their time back in the Premier League.
While the 26-year-old has previously made it clear he’s too loyal to the Whites to consider a move to their fierce rivals, that hasn’t stopped United from eyeing an ambitious summer swoop.
The academy graduate is poised to quit sports agency Palm Sports Management, with Stellar Group one of the ‘leading contenders’ to take him as a client.
And with Stellar having links to United in Luke Shaw, Dean Henderson and Anthony Elanga, that could work in the Red Devils’ favour.
Leeds, for their part, want Phillips to sign a new contract at Elland Road.
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But his future remains up in the air and United, at the current moment in time, are yet to make direct contact.
Back in January, West Ham and Aston Villa both enquired about Phillips’ availability amid his contractual situation.
But they’ve never received a contract offer for Phillips, who is contracted to Leeds until the summer of 2024.
United have previously raided Leeds for two of their best players in Eric Cantona and Alan Smith.
Cantona moved to Old Trafford back in 1992 and went on to become a Red Devils legend, winning four Premier League titles.
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Smith, meanwhile, joined United on a free transfer in 2004 and helped them win the league title three years later.
Phillips’ situation could be different given he’s a diehard Leeds fan.
But he’d be able to boost his profile at United and, as a new era awaits under Erik ten Hag, it’ll be fascinating to see how it plays out.
Phillips isn’t the only player being linked with a move to the Red Devils as the end of the season creeps closer.
United are likely to need a new goalkeeper this summer given Henderson’s desire to secure regular first-team football.
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And that’s paved the way for links to Sam Johnstone, who may leave West Brom following a difficult season at the Hawthorns.
At the back, United are admirers of Pau Torres and Jurrien Timber – of Villarreal and Ajax respectively.
In an ideal world they’d snap up Declan Rice, though West Ham are adamant he’ll cost in the region of £100m.
And, up top, United have interest in Benfica’s Darwin Nunez and Ajax’s Antony.
Speaking after Leeds’ 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday, meanwhile, Phillips opened up on his new role in a double pivot at the base of Jesse Marsch’s midfield.
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And he said: “Obviously, I wish I performed a little bit better, [I’m] trying to get to grips with the new formation.
“It’s very different.
“I like both ways, to be fair – I don’t mind playing as a single and I don’t mind playing as a double.
“You’ve got a lot of help when me and [Mateusz] Klichy and Robin [Koch] are working together.
“The new formation is good and hopefully we can keep performances up and build on what we’ve done.”
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