Kalvin Phillips is on the verge of moving to Manchester City, signing from Leeds United in a deal reportedly worth up to £45 million, but has the Elland Road club allowed their key midfielder to leave for such a low sum in today’s market?
Leeds youth product Phillips made his Leeds debut back in 2014 and has notched up 234 games for his club side, with 23 international caps for England, including the Euro 2020 Championship last summer.
The 26 year-olds stock has risen tenfold over the past 18 months. Promotion with Leeds in 2020, before becoming a mainstay in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, starting every game in the Euro 2020 tournament, earning himself Englands’s men’s players of the year. All very impressive considering he became only the third player this century to represent England before having made a single appearance in the Premier League.
With fellow English midfielder Declan Rice valued at up to £150 million by West Ham United, why is it Leeds have been happy to allow Phillips to leave under £50 million for the midfielder who still has two years on his current deal?Embed from Getty Images
Fellow Premier League side Wolves value Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves at a reported £100 million, whilst Wilfried Ndidi at Leicester City is currently valued by his respective club at upwards of £50 million, so it has raised the question for some as to why the Yorkshire club have let their main asset go at what must be deemed a cut price.
Where does Phillips fit in at City?
With Fernandinho ending his nine-year association at the Etihad, Phillips is the ideal candidate to freshen up the squad and slot into City’s midfield, adding competition to an already vastly strong squad.
Lynchpin midfielder Phillips will offer another dimension to City, with a superb range of passing from the base of midfield. He will manage the tempo of his team’s possession whilst still covering his defensive duties, he will look to withdraw into deeper positions to assist the team in building possession in the defensive third.
There will however be some fitness concerns for Pep Guardiola, as the Yorkshire midfielder only featured 20 times in the league last season for Leeds largely due to injuries. A hamstring injury ruled him out for several matches between December and March last season, and Phillips will want to avoid more of the same this coming season.
With City in no less than four competitions next season, there will be plenty of playing time opportunities for Phillips with fixture congestion that includes a mid-season World Cup in Qatar, but don’t expect Guardiola to rush Phillips into the fold at the Etihad straight away.
Fellow countryman Jack Grealish had a less than explosive first season in Manchester. The big-money signing only managed just 26 starts in the Premier League last season as the Spanish coach likes to rotate his squad, so don’t expect Phillips to be thrown straight into City’s first-team plans right away, especially off the back of a successful title-winning season. As recent history shows at City, players such as Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez, and Bernado Silva all made a slow start to their City careers, before showing their true potential as time wore progressed.
In conclusion, the price Manchester City paid for Phillips and the opportunity for the Yorkshireman to win major silverware suits both parties, but Leeds will probably feel they sold their key man short in a player that will be difficult to replace.