By George Overhill

1st Oct, 2022 | 10:20pm

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta reveals pride in Marc Roca for Kalvin Phillips move

Victor Orta has revealed that he is most proud of replacing Leeds United hero Kalvin Phillips with Marc Roca in the summer transfer window.

The Whites star moved to Manchester City after months of transfer speculation on 4 July, while Spaniard Roca was signed from Bayern Munich just a couple of weeks earlier, while Tyler Adams arrived from RB Leipzig two days later.

The American has grabbed more headlines with his play so far this season, but the under-the-radar nature of Roca’s importance is gradually becoming clear.

And it is obvious that Orta, who is being targeted by Chelsea for a role in the new regime, sees the value in that signing above all the others this year.

In a wide-ranging interview with El Pais on Friday (30 September) he was asked what move he was most proud of in the previous transfer window, and answered: “To replace Kalvin Phillips with Marc Roca.”

Hidden gem

It is no easy job to replace a fan-favourite local and an England regular, but once it became clear that the advances from Pep Guardiola had got Phillips’ attention that’s what Orta was tasked with.

Arguably it is a shared responsibility between Roca and Adams, with the former providing the regular passing to keep the play moving in attack, and Adams more inclined to break up opposition moves and break forward on the ball.

Considering Phillips moved to the Etihad for £42million and Roca arrived for less than a quarter of that, and half of what Adams cost, at £10million, it is looking like a steal so far.

Bayern chief Hasan Salihamidzic suggested that he would probably not have made it at the Allianz Arena but if he continues in the same way he has so far at Elland Road he will be considered a success.

His style of play makes adapting to the Premier League that much more of a challenge, and there are still question marks about physicality and opposition getting past him.

But if Adams and other more energetic teammates can provide a suitable platform for him to work from then he should continue to grow in influence on the ball.

If Orta does leave for Stamford Bridge it looks like the Roca deal will end up being his parting gift and the one he views with most pride from his last year at the club.

Jesse Marsch made clear that he wants him to remain in his press conference ahead of the Aston Villa game on Friday [The Athletic, 30 September], but it may have been hope as much as certainty over the outcome.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites boss sent a message to a fellow manager over star man Jack Harrison.