Manchester United have reportedly earmarked 25-year-old English international Kalvin Phillips as an alternative to Declan Rice.
According to Daily Star, Manchester United are eyeing a move for Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips as an alternative for Declan Rice. The Red Devils are in the market for a new defensive midfielder and were heavily linked with a move for Rice this summer.
West Ham United, however, stuck to their guns and have placed £90 million asking price on the 22-year-old. Manchester United, for their part, are concerned with the quoted price and do not believe Rice is worth the wait. They have now turned their attention elsewhere in search of a solution.
Curiously the gaze is now focused on Elland Road, where Kalvin Phillips has been going from strength to strength. The 25-year-old is a key player in Marcelo Bielsa’s system and has also been making a name for himself on the international stage.
Phillips was part of Gareth Southgate’s England side that made it to the final of UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. While the Three Lions may have fallen short, the Leeds United ace came out of the competition with an enhanced reputation.
A dynamic player who can contribute at both ends of the pitch, Phillips would be an upgrade over both Fred and Scott McTominay. Both the Manchester United midfielders are industrious but lack the imagination or dynamism to grab the match by the scruff of the neck.
In contrast, Phillips is a no-nonsense player who could provide a platform for Manchester United’s attackers to attack freely. He could very well evolve into the leader they need in the middle of the pitch. As things stand, the 25-year-old’s contract at Elland Road runs until 2024, with the Yorkshire outfit valuing him at £60 million.
While the price is not low, it is considerably lower than what West Ham are seeking for Rice. Another obstacle in United’s path is the heated rivalry between them and Leeds. There is no love lost between both sides, and their matches are tense affairs. Born and brought up in Leeds player, Phillips might not be willing to join the Red Devils.
He has alluded to just that before the opening game of this season. Leeds have started the season poorly and could even part ways with Bielsa next summer. This could very well leave them in limbo, encouraging certain players to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Manchester United have, for years, plundered some of Leeds of some of their best stars. Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith have all swapped out Elland Road for Old Trafford, experiencing much glory following the decision. Daniel James is the latest player to cross the divide, having gone the other way earlier in the summer.
Whether Phillips will return the favour in the windows to come will be the question. Nicknamed the Yorkshire Pirlo, Phillips could very well be the face of the Leeds side for years to come. The Elland Road outfit are, however, nowhere close to challenging for silverware. Whether Phillips is happy to stay on and help the team develop or seek challenges for trophies elsewhere remains to be seen.