Eddie Howe has not been afraid to look towards the Championship when dipping into the transfer market, with it being an approach that has produced results for Bournemouth.
The likes of Lewis Cook and David Brooks, for example, have both come in from Leeds United and Sheffield United respectively to become important players for the Cherries manager.
Considering those successes, it is not a surprise to see Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips (Football Insider) now being linked with a summer move to the Vitality Stadium.
How, though, does he compare to Jefferson Lerma, a man he could be partnering in the middle of the park?
This season, Phillips has been one of many success stories associated with Marcelo Bielsa’s time in the Elland Road dugout.
Under the Argentinian coach, the 23-year-old has played both as a defensive midfielder and third centre-back, drawing plenty of praise from his boss in the process.
“If you look at his game last year he played during some games as an offensive midfielder and then he played as a number eight, then he played as a number four, and now he plays as a centre-back,” Bielsa was quoted as saying by Leeds Live.
“He is a versatile player and that is a very important skill in modern football.”
That versatility, his tackling and ability to pick out a pass, makes it easy to see why Phillips is an attractive proposition for Howe.
TT Grade: B
For Lerma, this campaign has also been a bright one following his move from Levante last summer.
In the engine room, the 24-year-old has offered Bournemouth a real combative presence with his strong tackling and aggressiveness.
Having picked up 11 yellow cards in the Premier League this term, perhaps Lerma has even tackled too strongly and been too aggressive at times.
The odd suspension now and then, though, is probably something Howe can overlook when considering the overall impact Lerma has made in this Bournemouth team.
Without a doubt, the Colombia international has been one of the Englishman’s better signings as a Premier League manager.
TT Grade: B+
Phillips and Lerma share a lot of similarities and, together, they could really help give Bournemouth a solid foundation in the centre.
The Leeds and Bournemouth midfielders win the ball back well before using their ability on it to find a team-mate and get an attack going.
In this moment of time, the latter’s experience at the elite level probably puts him on top.
There is, however, nothing stopping Phillips from eventually reaching those heights with Premier League football now on the horizon for him.
Bournemouth and Leeds United fans, who wins this battle? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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