Kalvin Phillips is having a wonderful season. The Leeds United midfielder is flourishing under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road. The Whites are currently chasing the Championship title and Phillips is playing a key role in the side.
The 23-year-old defensive midfielder provides a reliable, solid base for Leeds’ attacking contingent to build upon. Not only does he possess an excellent instinct for reading the game, his work rate, stamina and mobility make him a relentless nightmare to play against.
On the ball, the locally-born academy graduate impresses even more. Once he has won possession back for his side by breaking up an opposition attack, Phillips consistently looks to play the ball forwards. His vision and range of passing often go unaccredited as the focus is invariably on his defensive work and aggressive pressing style, but those distribution skills are just as worthy of note.
He’s certainly an easy player to love. Phillips’ dynamic, all-action, blood and thunder style never fails to invigorate the Elland Road faithful. Certainly, the midfielder is a favourite amongst the fans these days.
However, it has not been an easy journey for Phillips to get to this point. It’s never straightforward for any academy player to break into the first team at any club and force their way into the starting XI. Even though he has managed that laudable feat, Phillips has still had his critics.
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Prior to the appointment of Bielsa, who looks to have brought the best out of Phillips, the youngster was an inconsistent and often frustrating player. It wouldn’t be surprising if there were some who were ready to give up on him at Leeds. Now, though, they’ll be desperate to cling onto him.
Premier League clubs will have taken note of Phillips’ form this season. The midfielder’s application, attitude and industry may well garner some interest. In this regard, Everton must seriously consider making a swoop for the Leeds man in the upcoming summer transfer window.
If the Whites fail to seal promotion this season, then Everton should be able to prise their man away from Elland Road with a minimum of fuss. Even if Leeds do come up, the Toffees still ought to possess the financial clout to force a deal through. Marco Silva should certainly throw whatever resources he can into getting a deal done.
The Portuguese coach has suffered at Goodison Park this season thanks, in part, to his midfield. In the middle of the park, Everton lack steel and bite. The likes of Tom Davies, Andre Gomes and Morgan Schneiderlin don’t have the defensive discipline and fighting spirit that Phillips would bring.
Of the midfield contingent currently at Silva’s disposal, only Idrissa Gueye has these qualities. However, the Merseyside club will likely have to seek a replacement for the 29-year-old this summer anyway.
As reported by L’Equipe, Gueye was devastated to see a January move to PSG collapse, and hopes that the Ligue 1 giants will return for him. Either way, he has made it clear that he intends to make a step up in his career soon.
Whilst he remains untested at Premier League level, Phillips looks like he could be the perfect replacement for Gueye. Not only that, but given he is English he would also help the Toffees achieve their homegrown player quota.
Launching a bid for the Leeds midfielder this summer is something of a gamble, but it’s certainly a risk well worth taking for Everton.