- Adwitya Jha
Manchester City to approach Leeds for Kalvin Phillips after international fixtures
Manchester City have a big summer window coming up, with the hierarchy tasked with replacing influential outgoing captain, Fernandinho. Kalvin Phillips has widely been reported as the man identified to fill the void, and information concerning an official approach from the Premier League champions has been published today.
Fernandinho was a lynchpin in the highly-successful City teams of the last nine years. The skipper did lose his regular starting spot to the outstanding Rodri since the Spaniard joined but was an able replacement whenever called into action.
The best and most recent example of his professionalism and versatility came towards the end of the season when he filled various positions across the backline, as City suffered from a severe injury crisis in the defensive area – yet secured their fourth Premier League title in five years.
The 37-year-old's decision to move to Brazil has prompted the club into looking for potential replacements, and Phillips seems to be the man earmarked for the role. City's interest in the Leeds man has been widely reported, with several reliable reports backing the claim that he is the man they are targeting.
The 26-year old was the main cog in the Marcelo Bielsa led machine, which saw Leeds rise from the Championship to the Premier League before last season. But the last campaign was a different story, as Leeds just about managed to scrape through and avoid relegation.
One of the main reasons for Leeds' poor season was Phillips being injured for long periods, which not only underlined his importance to the team but also has alerted bigger teams to try to snap up the talented midfielder, with City thought as being one of the front-runners if he decides to leave Elland Road.
According to the ever-reliable Martin Blackburn of The Sun, City will officially approach Leeds after England's UEFA Nations League fixtures, where the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ is involved with Gareth Southgate's squad.
City approaching Leeds for Phillips after this month's international fixtures has been corroborated by James Ducker in The Telegraph and was reported earlier in the day by Rob Dawson at ESPN.
Blackburn and his colleague Gary Stonehouse suggest that the Premier League champions may face stiff competition for his signature, with several clubs reported to be interested.
West Ham are reported to have bid a club record £50m in the January transfer window, which was knocked back by the Yorkshire based club. Aston Villa and Manchester United are also claimed to be in the running for his signing, but Phillips' deep connection to Leeds has reportedly led to him confessing to his close circle that the rivalry between Leeds and Man United will rule the red side of Manchester out of the race.
City may have to put forward a substantial amount for Leeds to sanction a sale, but the club are said to believe that the player is an ‘attainable target’ while Txiki Begiristan and Pep Guardiola reportedly think Phillips would be ‘ideal’ for the team.
Guardiola is likely to have been given a glowing recommendation about the player from his former manager and the Catalan's highly-respected colleague Bielsa.
City will be looking to bid early and wrap up the deal as quickly as possible, but Leeds have not given up hope in trying to persuade the player to prolong his stay at Elland Road.
Written by: @adwitya16
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