Manchester City journalist Sam Lee has dropped a behind-the-scenes claim regarding the possibility of the Premier League champions securing a deal for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips during the upcoming transfer window.
The journalist wrote: “No doubt, Phillips’ potential arrival has been complicated by Leeds’ Premier League survival. Avoiding relegation puts them in a stronger position financially, so City lost a fair bit of leverage.
“It is still very much on the cards, but a move is not as easy as was previously hoped within City’s offices.”
A product of Leeds’ youth academy, the 26-year-old has made 234 senior appearances for the Yorkshire club across all competitions. In that time, the England international has scored 14 goals and delivered 13 assists along the way.
Taking into account how Leeds only won three of the 18 league games in which Phillips didn’t feature this season and weren’t able to keep a clean sheet in any of those 18 matches, this highlights just how important he is to Jesse Marsch’s team and why they would be keen to keep hold of him for as long as possible.
While Lee claimed that there is still some hope that a deal can be struck for the Leeds star this summer, it would be a worry for Pep Guardiola that it may not be as easy to complete as it could have been had the Whites been relegated at the end of the Premier League season.
Bearing in mind how City will be heading into next term without Fernandinho for the first time in almost 10 years, it will be an even bigger concern for the Spaniard to not see his side secure a suitable replacement for the Brazil veteran – such as Phillips – before the start of the campaign.
While the Citizens haven’t been shy in the past when it comes to splashing out big sums of money to bring players to the Etihad from other Premier League clubs, this could be another one of those scenarios where they may be forced to pay whatever Leeds may want for their midfield hero.