Leeds United squandered a glorious opportunity to return to Premier League last season. They suffered late heartbreak in spite of a blistering start and are now set to begin from scratch yet again to claim a long-pending promotion. Amid all disappointment, the Whites have successfully retained Marcelo Bielsa for the upcoming campaign but are struggling in the transfer market to rope in their prime targets.
A lack of squad depth led to fatigue and dip in form during the decisive months. Although they require reinforcements to maintain the momentum throughout, the club must take a firm stance to keep hold of their prized assets who are being pursued by Premier League heavyweights.
Kalvin Phillips, the 23-year-old homegrown prodigy, has been in Aston Villa’s radar for a while. The Villans are reportedly (as per The Telegraph) weighing up a £14m bid for the youngster, but the Whites are determined to stand by their £30m valuation which is more than twice of what Villa are willing to pay, according to the Sun.
The Englishman progressed through the youth ranks of Leeds before breaking into their senior side as a teenager four years back. He eventually grabbed a regular role and went on to make 139 appearances till date across all competitions. Bielsa utilised him in a new position in between the backline and ‘midfield four’ and Phillips, despite having early jitters, proved to be an absolute gem while occupying the ‘hole’.
The player revealed his euphoria of representing the Whites week in week out (as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post) but, at the same time, did not rule out a move to Aston Villa who made a top-flight return defeating Derby County in the playoff final.
His contract at Elland Road runs down in summer 2021 and the club, in spite of reports of a lucrative new deal a month ago, are yet to make their move to convince Phillips to commit his future at his Boyhood club.
The iconic Argentine is desperate to keep hold of his core set of players and must block any potential transfer later this window. The young sensation has been standout in his free-flowing football, and the gaffer would rely on him once more to orchestrate the rhythm as a deep-lying playmaker.
Leeds have played a masterstroke by setting such a high asking fee for the midfield prospect, and the ball is in Villa’s court now. Aston Villa must be in a dilemma regarding whether to gamble on the youngster in their battle to avoid relegation.
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