Laurie Whitwell has dropped an update on the future of Leeds United central midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
What’s the latest?
In a recent Q&A on The Athletic, the journalist claimed that, despite it being recently reported that Victor Orta has opened contract extension talks with the England international, the Whites are becoming increasingly resigned to losing the services of the 26-year-old this summer, with both Manchester United and Manchester City interested in a move for the deep-lying playmaker.
In response to a supporter asking for an update on the Red Devils’ interest in Phillips, Whitwell said: “United have looked at Kalvin Phillips for the role, and sources say Leeds sound increasingly resigned to losing the England international this summer.
“But, as previously reported, Phillips would have to detonate his reputation at Elland Road to make that crossing between bitter rivals and the strong sense now is that he is not a genuine option for the red United. Manchester City offer a much more palatable, and realistic, destination across the Pennines.”
Supporters will be livid
Considering that Phillips is one of the Whites’ most gifted players, in addition to the Leeds-born midfielder being a product of the club’s academy, Whitwell’s update that Orta and Jesse Marsch now seem resigned to losing the 26-year-old this summer is sure to have left the Elland Road faithful livid.
Indeed, according to FBRef data, the £60m-valued talent is currently one of the best defensive midfielders around. Phillips ranks in the top 2% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for pressures per 90, the top 3% for tackles, the top 4% for blocks, the top 23% for clearances and the top 35% for interceptions over the last 365 days.
What makes these returns all the more impressive is that, by his own remarkable standards, the £38k-per-week playmaker endured something of a below-par campaign last time out, slipping from being ranked as the ninth-best midfielder in the 2020/21 Premier League to the seventh-best player in Leeds’ squad in 2021/22.
As such, should the homegrown star indeed move onto pastures new this summer, it would undoubtedly come as a gutting blow to Marsch, Orta and Leeds supporters alike.
Despite the club looking likely to receive a hefty fee for his services, Phillips’ combined ability in his role and his connection to the club will be irreplaceable.