By Craig Scott

24th Jun, 2022 | 11:40am

Phil Hay: James McAtee could be used in Leeds United player-plus-cash deal with Manchester City

The Athletic journalist Phil Hay suggests that James McAtee could be included in a player-plus-cash deal if Manchester City sign Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips this summer.

On 15 June, The Athletic reported that a Man City bid for the 26-year-old England midfielder is imminent.

Hay now claims that there are a couple of players who are on the books at the Etihad who could be used as a makeweight in any City bid for Phillips and 19-year-old McAtee is one of them.

After host Dan Moyland suggested that McAtee and Romeo Lavia are a “direct” link to go the opposite way from Man City to Leeds, Hay said on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast (23 June, 6m16s): “Two players Leeds are interested in and I wouldn’t say it’s beyond the bounds of possibility if a deal was to be done for Phillips, it might factor in one of them.

“But they’re both young, very experienced and there will be a view at Leeds that if Phillips goes, you need to be coming up with something that is fairly like for like in terms of pedigree.”

For the future

Leeds could do with some extra depth in the midfield.

Marc Roca has arrived from Bayern Munich but if Phillips goes, it leaves us with just Roca, Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw as viable central midfield options to start the 21/22 season.

Klich has shown signs of regression, unfortunately, and while Forshaw had a stunning campaign after returning from his injury hell, there’s surely only so much left in the tank for him and he does have his restrictions in terms of his ability.

Lewis Bate is an up-and-coming youngster who Leeds already have but another won’t hurt.

McAtee is an England Under-20 international who can play more of an attacking role in the midfield.

In the 2021/22 season, the Salford-born starlet made six senior appearances for Man City, playing 45 minutes in a Champions League draw with Sporting CP as one of those outings.

Pep Guardiola, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News on 4 February, dubbed the teen sensation as a “special player”.

He was the star of the show for the Under-23s though as they won the Premier League 2 Division 1 title.

McAtee, playing mainly as a central midfielder or attacking midfielder, scored 18 goals and supplied seven assists in 23 Premier League 2 appearances.

While it’s at youth level, those numbers are incredible and we’d love to see a talent like that head to Elland Road this summer.

In other Leeds United news, a title-winning midfielder has liked messages from Leeds fans saying he should move to Elland Road this summer.