Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Manchester United Turn To Rivals To Lure Defensive Midfielder Aboard : What Can He Bring To The Table?

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Ankit Seth
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Reports have emerged that Manchester United are “working on a deal” for Leeds United Midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Red Devils have prioritised signing a defensive midfielder with Phillips on the list alongside England teammates Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, according to Manchester Evening News.

West Ham’s quote on the price and Borussia Dortmund’s reluctance to sell, makes it evident why the Red Devils need to go for Phillips this summer. Despite their rivalry, United are eager to sign the midfielder.

Phillips’s campaign for Leeds Despite a Four-Month Absence

The defensive midfielder has played just 16 times for the Whites due to an injury this season, scoring one goal and grabbing 2 assists.

The boyhood Whites fan has averaged two tackles per game with 1.1 interceptions across all matches this season. Having a knack for playing off the ground, he has averaged 3.2 long balls per game with a passing percentage of 85.5% ( stats via whoscored).

Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United ( Manchester United)
LEEDS, ENGLAND – APRIL 02: Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United replaces Mateusz Klich of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Southampton at Elland Road on April 02, 2022, in Leeds, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

What Can Phillips Bring In For Manchester United?

Phillips’s visionary long ball supply and ball recovery are astonishing. He has been the mainstay of Leeds midfield.

He drops in deep and maintains the backline allowing the centrebacks to move wider. This also creates the opportunity for the wingbacks and wingers to press forward. His ability to play off the ground and accurate supply of long balls allow him to find open teammates out wide.

Phillips’s high work rate and immense physicality allow him to last for 90 minutes covering the maximum possible ground area. Hence, he is regarded as the engine of Leeds United’s midfield.

The Red Devils have an aggressive playstyle with pressing up high and using counterpressure to win back the ball as soon as possible. He could fit in the squad comfortably with his attributes and strengthen the backline. The midfielder is aligned with interim United manager Ralf Rangnick’s preference for targeting hungry players seeking a progressive career move.

How will the transfer play out?

Phillips returned from a four-month absence with a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday and made his international debut against Denmark on the eve of the campaign. Despite his recent lay-off, he is still considered essential by coach Gareth Southgate, starting in all seven of England’s European Championship matches.

The fans have split their opinion of Phillips having to leave Leeds in the summer. He has been essential for the whites in his previous campaign, and his contract lasts until 2024. Thus, Manchester United have to come up with an attractive offer to lure him in. The Red Devils will likely be laying off Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo after failing to be a contender for the Champions League and as a result, a nine-figure quote could be called for the Leeds midfielder.

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