Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has targeted England ace Kalvin Phillips as a possible replacement for outgoing defensive midfielder Fernandinho.
Guardiola is set to join bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool in the battle to land the Leeds midfielder this summer in a deal that could be worth £60million.
Brazil international Fernandinho has already announced he is leaving the Etihad at the end of the season and Guardiola believes Phillips would be the perfect addition to his squad. Guardiola will need a new midfielder and believes Phillips is one of the best in the business in the Premier League.
Guardiola, who is also interested in West Ham’s Declan Rice but believes he will prove too expensive, has had Phillips scouted on several occasions this season. Phillips, 26, is set to leave Leeds this summer if the Yorkshire club are relegated from the top flight. Both Aston Villa and the Hammers had offers for him of up to £55m rejected during the last transfer window, but remain keen to land Phillips should he decide to leave the hometown club.
United are also monitoring Phillips, but Leeds insist no official approach has been made by Erik ten Hag since taking over at Old Trafford. Phillips, meanwhile, has made it clear to those close to him that he has no intention of joining United due to the bitter hatred that exists between the two clubs. Phillips would be reluctant to leave the club he supported growing up, but knows he will have no choice if Leeds fall.
Is Phillips the ideal man to replace Fernandinho at City? Let us know in the comments
He knows he could triple his salary elsewhere and would find the chance to work under Guardiola and play in the Champions League impossible to turn down. Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have also inquired about Phillips, but he would prefer to stay in the Premier League.
Phillips has become a key part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad after starting every game of the European Championships last summer in that glorious run to the final – and is set to be included in his final World Cup squad for Qatar 2022.
Phillips made over 200 league appearances for Leeds, although injuries disrupted his season and damaged his side’s chances of staying in the top flight.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani is not ready to make a contract offer for the 26-year-old until June, and a bumper new deal worth around £100,000 a week will hinge on the club whether or not to avoid relegation from the Premier League.