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Kalvin Phillips’ contract extension temporarily puts Leeds United trend to rest

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Leeds sealed a significant coup last week as they managed to tie Kalvin Phillips down to new terms.

The £40k-a-week agreement is worth £8m over the next five years, giving him parity with top earners Kiko Casilla and Patrick Bamford.

It’s unsurprising that he’s been handed that amount of money but the fact he decided to remain at Elland Road was, in the context of Leeds’ history, a touch surprising.

The rumour mill was in full swing over the summer as the 23-year-old attracted interest from three Premier League clubs.

Aston Villa were in the running for him, as were Wolves and Bournemouth. According to Phil Hay, one side even put in a bid worth £27m, including add-ons, only for it to be knocked back.

If anything summed up how crucial he is at Elland Road, that decision encapsulated it in a nutshell.

Phillips is the heartbeat of this Leeds team and epitomises where hard work can get you. He is a late bloomer but that has played into his hands, particularly under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa.

The Argentine has taken the academy graduate under his wing and nurtured him into a player who could easily have made a move to the top-flight during the summer.

But, perhaps buoyed by their own faith in each other, the pair signed new deals just four months apart.

The fact he’s flourished late has not only played to his advantage, it’s also helped the club keep him.

Of course there is still a fear he could leave, especially if they don’t achieve promotion, but the recent contract agreement has temporarily laid to rest an unwanted trend that has persisted in west Yorkshire.

That trend concerns how regularly their best homegrown talents walk out of the club.

What could have happened had Bielsa got his hands on the dynamic Lewis Cook would have been fascinating to see. One of the better players to come through the youth setup, he left Leeds for an initial £6m fee and even earned an England cap in 2018.

He is someone who’s gone onto bigger and better things but he’s not the only to leave a flourishing Thorp Arch academy.

Also of an impressive calibre that ended up walking through the exit door was Sam Byram.

A year younger than Phillips when he left, he is perhaps the best example of a player a similar age that Leeds have lost.

The trend doesn’t stop there, though. A younger face in Ronaldo Vieira is now plying his trade at Sampdoria after being signed for the Leeds academy from Benfica.

Although not one of their own, it’s another example of how easily the hierarchy have allowed players to seep through the net.

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips

Other faces on the list include Fabian Delph, Jonny Howson, Danny Rose and James Milner.

All four of those players have gone onto play in the Premier League – three of which have also earned England caps.

That tells you all you need to know about some of the talent they’ve had on their books but Phillips has stopped the trend for now.

Out of all of those to leave, he has stayed and that says a lot about his character.

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After signing his new deal, the midfield man revealed he wanted to spend a lot of time at the club.

That is perhaps a strong indication of just how far the club have come under Andrea Radrizzani, Victor Orta and Bielsa.

The first two names will have had a thorough role to play in his new deal and it’s their decision to hand him a contract worth a potential £8m that’s temporarily ensured Leeds’ negative trend is on the backburner.

As opposed to the aforementioned ex-academy players, Phillips is the anomaly. Yes, he’s older and grown into his stride at a later date but he’s actually stuck around and looks set to be an instrumental figure in the club’s bid for promotion.

If Leeds go up, it wouldn’t be a shock if the midfield metronome continued to keep things ticking over at the base of midfield.

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Article title: Kalvin Phillips’ contract extension temporarily puts Leeds United trend to rest

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