Aston Villa have refused to increase their bid for Kalvin Phillips, who has now gone on Leeds United’s preseason tour of Australia, according to Alan Nixon.
Birmingham Mail have reported that bid to be around the £14 million mark, but while Leeds will begrudgingly sell if they feel the price is right, they won’t let him leave for less than they feel he is worth, as they once again aim for promotion.
Aston Villa have already paid out for the likes of Tyrone Mings, Wesley and Matt Targett, so it is clear they are willing to stump up the money when they feel it is worth it.
There was plenty made of Marcelo Bielsa’s influence at Leeds last season and it was arguably Phillips who felt this most – as he was mostly deployed in holding midfield, which brought out the best sides of his game.
He started 44 games last season, between holding midfield and centre-back, making 2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 2.6 clearances and 0.3 blocks per game, per WhoScored.
At Villa, Conor Hourihane has often been featuring as a holding midfielder (operating there on 19 occasions), though he is more naturally someone who plays in a box-to-box role, with 266 career appearances as a more conventional central-midfielder.
Hourihane made 1.4 tackles, 0.4 interceptions, 1.1 clearances and 0.2 blocks per game last season, with each of his numbers falling below those of Phillips.
By bringing in the Leeds man, Villa would have a more natural holding midfielder, who would offer the added protection which could be vital with the higher level of opposition that will now be faced – while also allowing Hourihane to get up the pitch on a more regular basis when he plays.
With players such as Jack Grealish (2.3 key passes a game) and Anwar El Ghazi (who registered six assists) able to create chances, Phillips could be the perfect man to protect the back line and give the previously mentioned names the freedom to thrive.
Leeds are right to refuse any deal below what the 23-year-old is worth, as he is one of their star players, but Villa should do all they can to force a sale by submitting a larger bid. Frankly, the kind of protection Phillips would bring going off last season’s stats, he could play an extremely important role. With him in the side, the attackers could flourish and support the strikers as the Midlands giants look to consolidate their place amongst England’s elite once again.
Villa fans, how much do you think Phillips is worth? Join the discussion by commenting below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!