If there was one player that typified what Marcelo Bielsa has done at Leeds United, it would be Kalvin Phillips.
When the Argentine first walked through the door, Phillips was nothing more than a shy prospect. However, he is now a regimented leader of men, ushering the responsibility of the whole squad.
He has become one of the first names on the team sheet and is now in Gareth Southgate’s plans ahead of the Euros this summer.
In such a short space of time, Phillips defines this club and has very quickly become a leader of men.
Thus, what would happen if they signed another defensive midfielder? Because of how impressive the 25-year-old has been since establishing himself in the Leeds side, there hasn’t been a need to invest there.
Yet, if reports in Italy are to be believed, they’re aiming to sign Toulouse midfielder Kouadio Kone, someone who could become Phillips’ long-term successor at the club.
Of course, the Leeds stalwart is still a young player but Kone possesses some very similar qualities. The 19-year-old, who has been described as someone with “long levers”, won 2.7 tackles a game in the French top-flight last term.
One of the England international’s most impressive aspects is the way he looks after the ball, using his vision to complete over 86% of his passes. The Leeds target is a little behind on 81.1% but it still demonstrates that he’s careful in possession.
In terms of their ball carrying, they are also pretty identical. Kone managed 0.8 dribbles per match in 2019/20, whereas Phillips has managed 0.6 this term.
At such a tender young age, the Toulouse battering ram is already doing all the right things. He has put himself in the shop window and at a price of just €15m (£13m), it would be a bargain.
Victor Orta must get this move done swiftly.