23-year-old holding midfielder Kalvin Phillips is attracting interest from Aston Villa. Will Dean Smith and Co. land the Leeds United star?
Aston Villa have a No. 6 sized hole at the base of their midfield entering the Premier League. With the subtractions of Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak at the expiry of their contracts, the claret and blues need an addition or two to supplement Jack Grealish, John McGinn, and Conor Hourihane.
One such name is Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips.
Phillips, a one-club player in West Yorkshire, he has never left Leeds professionally, making 139 appearances in five seasons, scoring ten times. His accolades include inclusion to the 2018/2019 EFL Championship Team of the Season.
Now, he’s being linked with a possible move to Villa. Reports suggest a formal £14 million bid is imminent, but that Leeds will hold out for £20 million+.
Phillips fits the mold of what Aston Villa are trying to accomplish this off-season: young, hungry players who could conceivably appreciate in value and help the team with a top-half Premier League finish.
Recent signings Anwar El-Ghazi (24) and Wesley Moraes (22) to four and five-year deals, respectively, mirror this philosophy. Likewise, so too would likely returnees Tyrone Mings (26) and Kortney Hause (23).
Whether Phillips ultimately signs is anyone’s guess. It takes all three parties to come to an agreement for a transfer. Clearly, any prospective deal is going to be costly. It is early in the summer transfer window. But it’s clear Dean Smith wants the vast majority of his team set before players return for pre-season training the second week of July.
Without that starting base midfielder, it will be very difficult for Smith to impose upon his tactical philosophy early in training. Villa would be wise to not fall victim like promotion teams of past, that wait too long in the summer, and go into competitive fixtures with an entirely new team and very little cohesion.