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Manchester United Working on a Deal to Sign £45m Rated Premier League Midfield

Kalvin Phillips, Manchester United

According to reports in England, Manchester United have zeroed in on Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips as their primary midfield target. The Red Devils have been linked to Amadou Haidara, Boubacar Kamara and Ruben Neves among other targets for the upcoming summer window.

Phillips’ England teammates Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham have also been linked with a move to Old Trafford. West Ham have slapped a hefty £150million fee on their club captain. This makes him unfeasible as a target to United, who could require more signings to cater to the requirements of new manager Erik Ten Hag. Borussia Dortmund are also unlikely to allow Bellingham to leave as they already face the prospect of losing their star forward Erling Haaland.

Manchester United, Kalvin Phillips
Image Obtained Via: The Sun

Kalvin Phillips is the perfect profile for Manchester United. The English international has a contract until 2024 but is unlikely to extend his deal. The 26-year-old excels as a midfield pivot, a profile the Red Devils sorely lack at the moment.

United have the option of Fred and Scott McTominay; two players that are better suited for a box-to-box role. Nemanja Matic is set to depart at the end of the season. James Garner could also be an option for Ten Hag to call upon.

Kalvin Phillips 2021-22 Heat-map
Kalvin Phillips 2021-22 Heat-map (Image Obtained Via:

Reports claim that West Ham and Aston Villa are also interested in the Euro 2020 finalist. However, United are confident of seeing off any competition for the 26-year-old. Leeds United have already identified a replacement transfer, which could help to accelerate the deal. Hoffenheim midfielder Florian Grillitsch has been linked with a move to Elland Road on a free transfer.

Player Profile

Role In Possession:

Phillips was a mainstay in Bielsa’s system last season, with over 2,400 Premier League minutes. The Leeds academy product has missed 19 games this season due to a hamstring injury. He has made two straight appearances off the bench in April, as he looks to regain match fitness and rhythm. Phillips has largely been used in central or defensive midfield. He has also been deployed as a central defender on 3 occasions.

Kalvin Phillips
Image Obtained Via:

Phillips is blessed with great positioning and game awareness, as well as an expansive passing range. He also has a tremendous work rate and commendable physicality.

In possession, Phillips is often positioned at the base of the build-up. This often helps Leeds to create a numerical advantage against the first line of opposition pressure. Furthermore, it helps the team to stretch the field horizontally, by pushing the centre-backs wider, and vertically, by allowing the full-backs and interiors to advance.

Phillips acts as an extra option to receive the ball

Another important role that the Englishman plays involves attracting pressure. Phillips, being positioned as the fulcrum of Leeds’s system, can dictate the tempo of the game. If the 26-year-old drops off to one side, the opponent centre-forwards often track his movement to prevent him from receiving the ball on the turn. This allows Leeds to evade opposition pressure.

Phillips can reduce the pressure on his teammates by dragging opponents away with him

Phillips is also an outstanding long-passer. His distribution allows Leeds to initiate wide combinations and quickly destabilize the opposition. However, his ability on the ball should be a concern for United. Phillips isn’t a great dribbler or great progressor with the ball at his feet. The Red Devils will have to adapt accordingly to accommodate the Englishman.

Kalvin Phillips
Kalvin Phillips Attacking Radar

Role Without The Ball:

Phillips sits just ahead of the defence in possession. Therefore, when Leeds concede possession, the 26-year-old acts as a protective shield ahead of the backline. His role involves contesting aerial duels and recovering second balls when Leeds manage to force the opposition to play long balls.

Kalvin Phillips can help play the ball from the back

Phillips can also press the opposition forwards when they receive the ball with their back turned. This helps to disrupt opposition transitions and prevent counter-attacks.

Kalvin Phillips
Kalvin Phillips Defensive Radar

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Kalvin Phillips provides a profile Manchester United sorely lack at the moment. He would be an asset to Erik Ten Hag’s system too. The Englishman reportedly earns around £35,000-a-week, which is perfect for the Red Devils. He would be a massive boost to United’s floundering defence. He could also be a reliable outlet in possession. Combined with a few other smart signings for key positions, Phillips could lead the Manchester United rebuild under a new manager.

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Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

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