Leeds United hold all the cards should any team try to come to the table with an offer for Kalvin Phillips.
Manchester United are the latest clubs to join a queue comprising of their city rivals, Manchester City, and Liverpool, should reports be believed.
Phillips’ stock has soared in the last 18 months, none more so than in the four-week period between England’s first and last European Championship matches this summer.
It’s little surprise then, that England’s top clubs would be interested in a rare type of midfielder, combative but adept in possession. The ability to control and destroy, in equal measure.
In the Premier League, there are only two similar alternatives that might be acquirable for a Champions League club, Wilfred Ndidi and Declan Rice.
The latter, Phillips‘ England midfield foil, has been subject to even more intense speculation over his future.
West Ham United boss, David Moyes, insisted the midfielder, who is out of contract in 2024 is worth over GBP100million last season.
Moyes said: “I don’t agree with the owners that Declan Rice is a GBP100m footballer. Far, far more than GBP100m. Far, far more.
“I look at the players who have joined some clubs from overseas and come in and nowhere near had the impact Declan Rice would have.
“I certainly wouldn’t put a price on it. You can decide which figure you want to put on it but I wouldn’t be sanctioning anything like that, that’s for sure.”
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Phillips, similarly, has a contract that runs until 2024, though his affinity with Leeds United is much deeper than that of Rice and the Hammers. It’s always seemed a matter of when, not if, Rice would move to a bigger club.
The importance of Leeds’ midfielder maestro can not go understated. When the 25-year-old has been absent, the Whites have suffered greatly.
The club has been unable to recruit a fitting understudy, quite simply because it’s near-impossible to match his skill set at an affordable price.
With that in mind, the suggestion that Manchester United have now set their sights on Phillips due to a lower price tag is peculiar. The importance of each player in their respective teams are huge, though West Ham debatably have more depth in that area of the pitch.
Whilst Rice has remained silent, Phillips’ agent, Kevin Sharp, insisted this summer that his client had no interest in leaving Leeds.
Rice has age on his side, to the tune of three years, but Phillips’ affinity with Leeds far outweighs his England team-mate.
If Rice is worth GBP100million, or GBP90million as the latest report quotes, it’s difficult to see why Phillips would be discounted by GBP30million. Especially when he is the more likely of the two to extend his terms.