Manchester United have suffered a potentially significant blow in their pursuit of Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
The Red Devils have been linked with a move for the highly-rated 25-year-old in recent weeks as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer searches for a new defensive midfielder.
It was reported that United would need to stump up a fee of around £60m to secure Phillips’ signature. However, the England international’s agent has now confirmed that his client is set to commit his future to the Elland Road outfit.
In an interview with The Telegraph, he claimed that an agreement is almost in place after the Leeds hierarchy responded to the Old Trafford interest by opening contract talks.
He revealed: “I can only see a positive outcome. Kalvin’s desire is to stay at Leeds, and there is a real willingness from all sides to make it happen.”
This latest revelation may see Solskjaer renew his interest in previous target Declan Rice, although his £90m asking price is thought to be a major stumbling block in any potential deal.
Phillips is a firm fan favourite amongst the Leeds faithful due to his local roots and has racked up 219 appearances for his boyhood club since making his first-team debut back in 2015.
Over the last couple of campaigns, though, the combative and intelligent midfielder has taken his game to new heights, playing a pivotal part in the Yorkshire outfits Championship success and then their incredible ninth-placed Premier League finish last term.
His impressive performances at club level led to a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior England setup, and Phillips has continued to excel on the international stage, leading to praise from the Three Lions boss.
“He’s been excellent,” Southgate said. “The way he has taken to international football, it hasn’t surprised us because what we’d seen with Leeds, even in the Championship, we felt could convert into our team.
“We felt he could play an important role with us. To play in the enormity of the matches he did in the summer and play as well as he did is massive credit to him.”
Therefore, a large section of Manchester United fans will surely be gutted that Phillips looks set to commit his future to Leeds.
Solskjaer’s charges are in desperate need of a new holding player at the base of their engine room, but it looks as though they’ll be forced to move on to alternative targets in the upcoming windows.