Manchester City are ‘targeting Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips as a potential replacement for Fernandinho’… but they will face competition from Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Ham to capture his signature
- Manchester City are keen to sign Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips in the summer
- The 26-year-old is seen as a potential replacement for Brazilian Fernandinho
- City will face competition from Manchester United, West Ham and Aston Villa
City boss Pep Guardiola has already identified the England international as an ideal replacement for Brazilian Fernandinho, who is set to depart after nine years in Manchester.
Ilkay Gundogan has also been linked with a move away from the Premier League champions this summer – meaning Guardiola has his work cut out in the summer transfer window to rebuild his midfield.
Manchester City are targeting Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips to replace Fernandinho
City boss Pep Guardiola may have to rebuild his midfield with Fernandinho (left) and Ilkay Gundogan (right) both looking set to depart the club this summer
The Mirror has reported that City have sent scouts to watch Phillips several times this season, with the 26-year-old certain to be available if Leeds get relegated on Sunday.
The same report suggests that Sporting Director Txiki Begiristain has accepted that prime target Declan Rice is unattainable this summer.
They will face plenty of competition from around the Premier League – given that Aston Villa and West Ham both had bids rejected in the January transfer window, but remain keen to land Phillips.
City boss Guardiola will face competition from Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Ham
Fierce rivals Manchester United has also been heavily linked with the midfielder and remain among the clubs interested – despite it being reported previously that Phillips would reject an offer from Leeds rivals.
Leeds-born Phillips, is acutely aware of the enmity between his hometown team and their bitter rivals from across the Pennines, and would be opposed to joining United.
Alan Smith was the last player to swap Elland Road for Old Trafford in 2004 — two years after Rio Ferdinand made the same move — and has never been forgiven by many Leeds supporters.
Eric Cantona, Arthur Graham, Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen are the other players to join United from Leeds. Phillips has told Leeds that he wants to stay and sign a new contract, having been at the club since the age of 14.
His current deal has two years left to run, but he could easily double or triple his current wages with a move away.
Especially as Phillips emerged as a key part of England’s side after starting every game in last summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, as Gareth Southgate’s side reached the final, only to lose to Italy on penalties.
He has endured injury problems this season, but is still expected to be included in Southgate’s World Cup squad for Qatar 2022 later this year.