Kalvin Phillips could be set to make a dramatic return to Elland Road with Leeds United in the running to re-sign him this summer, the Daily Star reports.
The England star started for the Three Lions in the 2-1 win against Italy on Thursday (23 March) despite being little more than a bit part player at the Etihad this season, following his £42million departure last summer.
Now, having failed with an attempt to bring him back on loan in the January window the Whites are now set to rival previous suitors West Ham at the end of the campaign as they make a second run at a deal.
The Leeds United fan-favourite has made just 13 appearances in all competitions in Manchester, without a single start in either the Premier League or Champions League, and according to the Daily Star clubs are “on alert” as a result.
Not always greener
Phillips had to back himself when the Premier League champions, managed by one of football’s greatest managers, came calling but there was always a chance it would go like this.
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Gareth Southgate has proven that he is willing to overlook a lack of football for an England place but the 27-year-old would surely prefer to be on the pitch more often than not, with a total of 95 minutes combined across the Premier League and the Champions League a miserable return for the best part of a year at City.
His injury issues, something that plagued his final season at Elland Road, haven’t helped but he wouldn’t be the first English player who has gone from being a standout further down the league to lost in the shuffle among the high-priced signings.
West Ham are likely to be looking for a Declan Rice replacement in the summer, and bid for the Yorkshire Pirlo in the January window last season [The Sun, 5 February 2022].
And while Chelsea and Arsenal are widely seen as battling for the Hammers captain TEAMtalk reported that Guardiola’s side were favourites for him on 1 March, opening up the possibility of a swap deal.
But if Phillips is on the move in this window then Leeds United have to make a push to make sure he comes home to West Yorkshire.
It’s one thing seeing your local hero leave for the top team in the division and another to watch him turn out for a relegation rival.
Tyler Adams has been a successful signing on balance, but Marc Roca and Weston McKennie have so far been inconsistent, so Phillips back at the base of the midfield would make a big difference even aside from the emotional ties.
It won’t be cheap, but there is certainly an argument that if City want to shift him they can’t expect their whole fee back, so if this door is open it would surely make too much sense not to make a big play to get through it.
In other Leeds United news, a terminated deal now sees one Whites player finalising a permanent exit from Elland Road.