By MOT Leeds News speaking to Paul Robinson

26th Mar, 2022 | 9:10pm

Pundit wants better from Victor Orta as Leeds United eye Flynn Downes as Kalvin Phillips replacement

We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United...

Paul Robinson is disappointed to see Leeds United reportedly in the hunt to sign Swansea’s Flynn Downes as a replacement for Kalvin Phillips.

On 20 March, The Times journalist Jonathan Northcroft reported that in light of increased interest in Phillips, 26, from clubs like Aston Villa, West Ham and Newcastle, Leeds have “identified several targets” as potential replacements.

It is understood that 23-year-old Swansea midfielder Downes is among those on Victor Orta’s shortlist.

However, Robinson is unimpressed by Orta’s approach to recruitment and would rather see Leeds find established, top-flight players rather than taking a chance on players like Downes, who’s never played at a level higher than the Championship.

“He’s not at the same level as Kalvin Phillips – he’s nowhere near. Look at how big a miss Phillips has been this season,” said Robinson to MOT Leeds News.

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Leeds have got to start shopping at the same shops as the top half of the Premier League.

Yes, there are bargains to be had and there are top players in the Championship – look at Jarrod Bowen, for example, at West Ham.

But your recruitment has got to be absolutely spot on.

If you are going to lose Phillips, you’ve got to be recruiting at the top table, you’ve got to be looking around Europe for better players, you’ve got to improve.

Players do move on and it’s not the end of the world when they do – look at Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez.

They rebuilt the team so there’s always rebuilding and rejuvenation going on if the money is put into the team wisely and the right signings being made.

I can’t see Leeds progressing forward if they’re consistently shopping in the Championship when they need to buy better players.”

Downes has played 33 times for Swansea in all competitions this season and, like Phillips, is capable of playing as a centre-back, defensive midfielder or a central midfielder.

More often than not, he’s been used in the holding midfield role by Swans manager Russell Martin, who dubbed the former Ipswich ace “incredible” in January [Swansea’s official website].

In other Leeds United news, Graham Smyth admits it’s “very possible” this star player will quit Elland Road within months.