Despite Kalvin Phillips having missed a huge portion of Leeds United’s 2021/22 Premier League campaign due to a hamstring injury, interest in the central midfielder remains high ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window.
Indeed, West Ham United were reported to have had a £50m bid for the England international turned down by Victor Orta in January, while the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa have also been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old in recent weeks.
As such, while the player who Phil Hay dubbed “Champions League material” is by no means certain to leave Elland Road this summer, considering the sheer level of interest in his services, it would nevertheless appear a very wise move for Jesse Marsch to start planning for life after Phillips.
However, before spending big on a potential replacement for the £38k-per-week midfielder in the summer transfer window, it would seem advisable for the American manager to take a closer look at one of the Whites’ up and coming talents in the position – in the shape of Lewis Bate.
Having joined Leeds in what was a £1.58m move from Chelsea last summer, the 19-year-old arrived at Elland Road with an impressive reputation, with Connor Rowden – a specialist in U18 and U23 football, as well as England’s youth teams – appearing particularly excited about the central midfielder’s potential.
Speaking about Bate, Rowden said: “His ability to take control of the tempo of a game from deep, dropping into spaces and probing with his mastery of the short and long passing game is where he excels.”
Furthermore, former Leeds centre-forward Jermaine Beckford also appears to believe the England U20 international has an extremely bright future in the professional game, saying of the £900k-rated dynamo: “I’m a huge fan of his. He’s got a low centre of gravity which means he’s able to turn and get away from players quickly.
“He likes to pick the ball up in awkward and tight situations, so it gives Leeds United opportunities to give someone the ball who isn’t afraid to get the ball in tight areas and drive with it. He can also deliver a great cross-field pass which is something else to look forward to.”
Finally, Marcelo Bielsa also rated the teenager extremely highly, with the Argentine stating of Bate earlier this season: “He performs better every time in the games he’s a part of. He’s a player who is constantly managing the ball and he doesn’t lose it very often. He has a good sense of a pass. He can thread it through the eye of a needle.”
As such, considering the fact that all of the above could quite easily have been attributed to Phillips, it would indeed appear as if Bate is something of the perfect heir to the 26-year-old – something which is undoubtedly an extremely exciting thought for everyone involved with the Whites.