Manchester City have identified Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips as their ‘top candidate’ to replace their departing captain Fernandinho.
The Lowdown: City to target midfielders
The Citizens are in the market for a new defensive midfielder this summer, and according to the Daily Mail, they have identified Phillips as their top target.
The Manchester club have already been active in the transfer window in strengthening their attack, with an agreement already being made for the £51.1m signing of sought-after striker Erling Haaland, and £14m January signing Julian Alvarez set to join up with City squad for pre-season following his loan spell at River Plate.
And now with Fernandinho announcing that he is to leave the club this summer, Pep Guardiola has seen midfield as a priority position to improve on in order to retain their Premier League crown, with Phillips’ name emerging as a speculated acquisition.
The Latest: Phillips possesses perfect profile
Writing in the Daily Mail, Jack Gaughan has claimed that the Premier League holders have identified Phillips as ‘possessing the perfect profile for the squad and are expected to pursue him in the coming weeks’.
He also notes that the 26-year-old’s versatility as both a holding midfielder and being capable of also potentially playing to the right-hand side of Rodri in a midfield three makes him even more enticing proposition.
However, Leeds surviving relegation on the final day of the season will drive his price up even more, and the England international has previously implied that he was keen on staying at his hometown club, with his agent Kevin Sharp has claiming that his client “has never asked to leave Leeds in all his time with the club and has no intention of doing that now or in the summer” in an article in The Sun from February that reported that the Yorkshire native was pushing for a new contract to stay at the Whites.
The Verdict: Big decision
In terms of fitting a profile of player, Phillips would be a perfect fit for Manchester City, and with a place in the England World Cup squad to play for, playing for a side in the UEFA Champions League and competing at the top of the Premier League will only increase his chances of making it onto the plane, so it also makes sense as a move for the player as well.
He is a midfielder of immense ability and has gained popularity from fans and fellow footballers alike, with former Crystal Palace and Everton winger describing him as a “monster”.
And even if Leeds demand a considerable amount more than they normally would following confirmation on Sunday that they will be playing in the Premier League rather than the Championship next season, that will likely not deter City, who often spend big in transfer windows, especially when bringing in players in key areas.
The decision ultimately lies with Phillips, where he can stay at Elland Road on a lot less money that he would likely earn at the Etihad Stadium but would be almost guaranteed a starting place every week, or he can move to increase his wages and his likelihood of winning trophies, albeit with more of a squad player role rather than his current status of being the star man in his team.