That is according to Football Insider sources, who claim that Gerrard’s side, along with Newcastle United are leading the race for the England international with uncertainty surrounding his future amidst Leeds’ battle with relegation.
Talks over a new contract with their star midfielder have stalled, and according to the report, both Villa and Newcastle have made him a top target – with both believed to be carrying out the groundwork for a potential deal.
As pointed out by Football Insider via BBC Leeds’ reporter Jonathan Buchan, Phillips was reportedly pictured taking in the surroundings at Elland Road for what could perhaps be his final time as a Leeds player.
The latest report will come as a big boost for Gerrard and co, who look as though they will miss out on another one of their holding midfielder targets in Boubacar Kamara.
As such, bearing in mind his desire to strengthen the defensive midfield area, Phillips will be a desirable option – especially with Leeds United’s very real relegation prospects, which could make for a cut-price deal.
In fact, Phillips, who Patrick Bamford said brings “something special” to England, has an average number of pressures in the attacking third that surpasses Aston Villa’s possession won in the final third metric of 3.5.
Indeed, £25m Phillips, who has interestingly been described as a “lifeboat” by Paul Hayward for his efforts in consoling England teammate Bukayo Saka, would massively bolster the Aston Villa engine room, bringing metrics such as 3.73 tackles per 90 and match average of 4.77 pressures in the attacking third to a side who are statistically the worst for winning possession high up the pitch.
Having emerged as joint front-runners along with Newcastle, Villa will need to close the deal as soon as possible in order to bag themselves an elite holding midfielder.
With his match average of 22.32 touches in the defensive third, it’s clear that the 26-year-old offers a lot at both ends of the pitch, with his ability to drop deep and sweep up loose balls yet another bonus for Gerrard who would no doubt be ecstatic to get a deal across the line.