There is no doubt that Kalvin Phillips is a top quality midfielder who has been running the show for Leeds United for quite some time now. His solid performances in the middle of the park have seen him called up by England and now he is being linked with a move away from Elland Road to Premier League champions Manchester City.
He appears to be a priority for coach Pep Guardiola who already snapped up his number one transfer target this summer by bringing in Erling Haaland. But would Phillips really be a right fit for City and vice versa?
Desperate to keep him
First and foremost the Leeds fans would hate to see their talisman leave the club. He would be almost irreplaceable. His box to box ability and never say die attitude has made him a fans’ favourite. Leeds would be a lot weaker without him that is for sure. Maybe not since David Batty way back in the 90s have they had such a robust centre midfielder so you can understand how desperate they are to keep him. But it appears the 26-year-old is leaving, imminently – but the real question is if he would fit in to Guardiola’s trophy-laden side? I don’t think he would.
City are looking to replace Fernandinho – who has left the Etihad after nine glorious years – and see Phillips as a natural successor. But Guardiola prefers to play with just one defensive midfielder in his first 11 and it is hard to see Phillips getting the nod ahead of Rodri who has firmly established himself in the middle of the park.
However, City played a whopping 57 matches last season and will once again be playing plenty more in the new campaign what with Champions League football to juggle amongst the domestic calendar of league and cup games. That means they will need a big enough squad to handle the sheer number of matches which is why an addition like Phillips makes a lot of sense for them. His chance will definitely come in the team, most likely in the early rounds of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. And if he is do well then he will stake a claim for a starting spot in more prestigious ties.
It is a risk though what with the World Cup kicking off in November. If he is on the bench for City more often than he is out playing then this will harm his England chances. Coach Gareth Southgate is spoilt for choice for midfielders what with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Conor Gallagher and James Ward-Prowse all capable of playing with Declan Rice as a possible double pivot.
Phillips needs to be playing regularly if he is to make it on the plane to Qatar which is why a move to City does not make sense for him. He would not start every match under Guardiola and this will do his international career a lot of harm at such a critical juncture. He would be better off staying at Leeds for now and then possibly moving to either City or elsewhere during the January transfer window after the World Cup is over. This would make a lot more sense. But then again, this is football... When has it ever made any sense?