Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the trusted insider hinted that striking a deal to sign the England international could be a possibility, particularly if the Elland Road outfit are to suffer relegation.
Having been discussing a potential move for Tottenham star Pierre-Emile Hojberg, Downie revealed that a move for Phillips may be more likely: “I don’t know what his [Hojberg’s] contractual situation is actually with Spurs, but I’d be surprised if that one happened. I would say [Kalvin] Phillips would probably be a more workable deal for the club.”
This follows recent reports that suggested the Magpies were keeping an eye on the 26-year-old, with the £38k-per-week gem rumoured to have a £30m relegation clause in his contract should Jesse Marsch’s side be unable to avoid the drop.
That will no doubt be welcome news to Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, with the 44-year-old seemingly keen to bolster his playing ranks again this summer, having already recruited successfully in the January window.
Despite rumours linking the club with the likes of Ibrahim Sangare of PSV, in Phillips, the northeast side have a player already accustomed to life in the Premier League, while he has also earned rave reviews for his displays at international level.
A key component of the Three Lions’ squad that reached the Euro 2020 final last summer – featuring in all seven games – the £45m-rated star was dubbed “the best modern midfielder” by iconic coach Fabio Capello.
Even amid a frustrating, injury-hit campaign that has contributed to Leeds’ tumble down the table, the defensive midfielder has still recorded some impressive statistics, averaging 2.7 tackles per game, 1.1 interceptions and 0.8 clearances in his 19 league outings.
Equally, compared to those in his position in Europe’s top five leagues, the 5 foot 10 machine also comes out favourably, ranking in the top 1% for pressures made, the top 2% for tackles made and the 4% for blocks made.
Although referencing Hojberg, pundit Noel Whelan suggested that the Tynesiders are in need of a “very disciplined holding midfield player” in order to allow the likes of Bruno Guimaraes to thrive, with Phillips potentially the man to do the job.
It may not be a done deal just yet, although the 19-cap destroyer appears to be a player that Howe would simply love.