Leeds United made some of their most unpopular transfer decisions over the summer and there is no doubt that the Elland Road faithful would’ve been fearful for what the Premier League season ahead was going to hold when both Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha were sold.
The sale of the Brazilian winger was much anticipated, as transfer rumours surrounding Raphinha’s future were non-stop last season, but the thought that Leeds would sell academy graduate and prodigy Phillips was something that would’ve been out of the question to supporters this time last year.
Without a care for the backlash that awaited them, the powers at the club made their decision to sell the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ to Premier League powerhouse and title-winners Manchester City for £42m back in July.
Despite the obvious sentiment of being a local lad and the clear-cut quality that the England midfielder possesses, Orta will be counting his blessings that he did take the risk of letting go of such a talented player, a decision that appears to be somewhat of a masterclass given what the player has gone through this season.
Noel Whelan has spoken out on the “massive” blow to Phillips, as the player has now had to undergo surgery on a shoulder injury that could leave him unable to compete for a spot on the plane to Qatar for the World Cup – as the timescale remains unclear on when he will be able to return.
The £150k-per-week ace, who Yannick Bolasie dubbed a “monster“, has completed just 13 minutes of action over three substitution appearances for the Premier League champions this season, and injury problems plaguing his ability to perform will be nothing new to Leeds supporters.
Phillips spent 99 days last season recovering from a hamstring injury that saw him miss 16 fixtures for Leeds, and the Whites’ heavy reliance on the midfielder certainly contributed to their struggle to comfortably compete. Indeed, another season spent relying on him could’ve cost the club dearly, so they look to have hit the jackpot selling him when they did for so much money.
Marsch’s side are currently 11th in the Premier League table after six outings, and although supporters may have been worried initially with the loss of such an important player in the heart of the team, the recruitment and new signings have been hugely impactful so far.
With that being said, selling Phillips may have been a blessing in disguise for Leeds as, had they not sold him, it could’ve been another difficult season for United, but there is no doubt that his quality is something that will be sorely missed by supporters for a long time.