According to the latest reports from the Daily Mail, Aston Villa have kept Leeds United’s midfielder, Kalvin Phillips, on their radar after achieving promotion to the Premier League by beating Derby County in the playoff finals. The win made them £170m richer, and we can expect the Villans to make some signings in the summer.
It is believed that Dean Smith wants young, hungry and talented players, and Phillips seems to fit the bill well. The defensive midfielder had an influential season for the Whites as he played a large role in their promotion push. The midfielder has been linked with Premier League clubs before, and United might have a battle on their hands to keep hold of him.
Marcelo Bielsa is set to continue as the manager of Leeds United for another season and Phillips will continue to be a crucial player for him in his system. There should not be any doubt that Bielsa would have only accepted the new deal when he was assured that certain players wouldn’t leave. Someone like Phillips is a big part in his team.
Why is Phillips so crucial for Leeds United?
The Yorkshire outfit might need two players to replace Phillips as the Englishman even filled in as a centre back when required this season. He played the defensive midfield role to perfection as he read the situations well and often won back the ball quickly by pressing his opponents high up the pitch.
His on the ball abilities makes him stand out as Phillips was often the orchestrator of Leeds United’s attack. One can even term him as a deep-lying playmaker given the amount of possession the Whites used to enjoy. He often used to drop back between two central defenders as the fullbacks pushed up and launched an attack with diagonal balls.
There isn’t anyone in the Championship atleast who can play that role so well, and Phillips needs to stay at Elland Road if the club wants to launch an improved promotion run in the next season. The 23-year-old was one of the most improved players under Bielsa, and he too should look to continue at Elland Road. The fact that he came up from United academy makes him one of the fan favourites as well.
What can Bielsa do to keep him?
However, the prospect of moving to the Premier League could be tempting. Phillips is contracted to stay at Elland Road until 2021, and he signed his last extension in 2017. Maybe to remove all the doubts from the player’s mind, the club should offer him a new, improved deal after his performance this season.