Nobody will “begrudge” Kalvin Phillips a big-money move from Leeds United this summer according to former White Tony Dorigo.
The star midfielder is attracting heavy interest from Premier League champions Manchester City, while French giants Paris Saint-Germain have also entered the race according to 90min journalist Juan Medina.
An Elland Road exit has quickly become the more likely outcome during the window but after what the England international has given the club Dorigo believes he has earned a shot at the top.
In a lengthy open letter to the 26-year-old, passing on advice from his own career ranging from a desire to win trophies at a certain stage, the merits of playing abroad, and the pressures of playing in a top side, he paid tribute to the Phillips’ time at United.
The former Whites player wrote in his Yorkshire Evening Post column: “You’re a lucky boy that you’ve got a great family around you and that’s who you should be listening to.
“Whatever your decision is, and if this is goodbye, you’ve been simply superb.
“I liken you to David Batty – a no-nonsense, homegrown lad who absolutely loves his hometown club.
“If I was going to go to war I’d want David Batty beside me and you’re in that mould.
“People who have played with you hold you in the very highest esteem and Leeds fans know you’ve given everything for the club.
“You’ve stayed even beyond what some people would expect and, even if I and so many others want you to stay, if you leave the club in the Premier League I don’t think anyone will begrudge you a move because you’ve been a wonderful servant to the club.”
End of an era
There are plenty of reasons why fans love their hometown hero and if he leaves they will miss all of them.
But Dorigo’s sentiment is likely one that is widely held among the supporter base, as his time at the heart of the Whites midfield has been outstanding.
He was a central figure in the Marcelo Bielsa revolution that took the club back to the top flight after so long away, and his absence through injury was felt heavily as the Argentine’s rein came to an end.
He has established himself as an international regular and was at the heart of the Three Lions side that made it to the final of Euro 2020 last summer.
It was therefore going to be difficult to keep him at a club that only escaped relegation back to the Championship on the final day.
Even so, he was apparently happy to shun the advances of Manchester United this summer in light of the rivalry between the two clubs, as he ultimately rejected other offers previously.
It looks like the chance to play for Pep Guardiola at the Etihad has had a different effect, and it will be a wrench to see him in another side’s shirt if the move does happen.
There is a decent argument to say that he is in the perfect situation at Elland Road and to leave would not necessarily be better, but players of his calibre can’t be blamed for wanting to test themselves at the top level and he may be about to do exactly that.
In other Leeds United news, another exit-bound star man may actually be convinced to stay if events go a certain way.