Manchester City are interested in signing England midfielder Kalvin Phillips with indications the boyhood Leeds fan is unlikely to move to their bitter rivals Manchester United
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Manchester City have emerged as contenders to sign £ 50million-rated Leeds and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips in the summer.
City boss Pep Guardiola has identified Phillips as a potential replacement for Brazilian Fernandinho, who is leaving at the end of this season after nine years.
With Ilkay Gundogan also potentially on his way this summer, Guardiola is potentially looking to recruit two midfielders – with Phillips now seen as an attainable target. City have identified a central midfielder as one of the positions they must address this summer and have already ruled out a move for West Ham £ 100m-rated Declan Rice.
But Guardiola and City sporting director Txiki Begiristain believe Rice’s England midfield partner Phillips could be the ideal player for them. City have sent scouts to watch Phillips several times this season, with the 26-year-old certain to be available if Leeds get relegated on Sunday. Aston Villa and West Ham both had bids rejected in the January transfer window, but remain keen to land Phillips should he decide to quit his hometown club.
Manchester United have also been keeping close tabs on Phillips, but Leeds have insisted no official approach has been made from Old Trafford. Yet Phillips has made it clear to those close to him there is no way he could join United, given the bitter rivalry between them and Leeds. Phillips is understood to be reluctant to leave the club he supported growing up, but knows he will have little choice – for the good of his career – should Leeds go down.
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He could triple his wages – currently £ 38,000-a-week – elsewhere and those who know him say he would find it impossible to turn down the chance to work under Guardiola and play in the Champions League. Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain have also inquired about Phillips, but it is understood his preference is to remain in the Premier League.
Phillips emerged as a key part of England’s side after starting every game in last summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, as Gareth Southgate’s side reached the final, only to lose to Italy on penalties. Despite injury problems this season, Phillips is expected to be included in Southgate’s World Cup squad for Qatar 2022 later this year.
Leeds boss Jesse Marsch has previously expressed his desire to hang on to Phillips. He said last month: “I have not spoken about long-term futures with everyone, it’s all about the present and living in the moment now. Those conversations come down the road. I would love to keep guys like Kalvin, Patrick Bamford and Raphinha here as long as possible. ”