By George Overhill

19th Jun, 2022 | 1:45pm

Manchester City can offer Leeds United players for Kalvin Phillips, but not James McAtee

Multiple Manchester City youngsters could be included in a deal for Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips, according to AS in Spain.

The Premier League champions are expected to arrive with a bid for the England midfielder imminently, and while they are willing to send youth prospects to Elland Road the key talent that the Whites want is off limits.

United want James McAtee above the rest, but he is held in such high regard by Pep Guardiola that he is not a “viable option”.

The Spanish manager plans to bring the teenage midfielder into the first-team set up for the 2022/23 season and is not ready to let him leave in order to land his primary transfer target.

The money is there to sign Phillips out-right, with according to The Athletic the Manchester club envisages to be between £45million and £50million.

An Elland Road exit for the 26-year-old has quickly become likely following interest from the Etihad and is “a move Leeds would struggle to resist”, [The Athletic] but the eagerness to bring the under-21 international the other way is set to be rebuffed.

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Considering the riches at City it is surely not necessary for the future of Phillips to rely on a tug-of-war over McAtee.

The 19-year-old coming in the opposite direction, in addition to a decent amount of money might soften the blow of losing a local star, but a hefty fee would probably do it.

Guardiola may value his young star highly but a loan move could still be beneficial to both parties.

Romeo Lavia, 18, is another midfield option who the Whites have looked at and would apparently be more viable, although who else could be available is currently unclear.

If the club holds a firm position against the title-holders, and insists on as much compensation as possible, then a set of youngsters could arrive at Elland Road.

But there is no use in welcoming in a load of unproven players, however highly-rated they might be, without any planning, especially when there are a number of strong prospects already at the club that need game time.

It is a symptom of the power imbalance between the elite of European football and their bank balances that once it became clear that City wanted Phillips the feeling was it had become inevitable, while the same is certainly not the case when the roles are reversed.

In other Leeds United news, another key Elland Road player would already have signed for a Premier League rival if it wasn’t for one divisive figure.