Manchester United have been linked with a summer move for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who is said to have emerged a priority target for the Red Devils ahead of next season. The 26-year-old has established himself as one of Leeds’ most coveted assets over the last few years but is yet to sign a new contract at Elland Road despite months of negotiations, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2024.
United have already started work on firming up their interest in Phillips, who shone for England at Euro 2020 last summer but has endured an injury-hit club campaign at Leeds in the months since. The Red Devils have prioritised the addition of a new deep-lying midfielder to shore up their ranks in the engine room and Phillips has been identified as the best man for the job, according to the Manchester Evening News.
It seems as though United would be forced to pay a significant fee to land Phillips at the end of the season given his importance to Leeds, who are said to be keen on tying him down on a long-term basis with a new and improved contract. A part-exchange deal could be a sensible route to follow for United in order to sweeten the deal and avoid paying over the odds to strengthen in the middle of the park in advance of next season.
With that in mind, Express Sport takes a look at three United stars who could tempt Leeds into accepting a player-plus-cash offer in exchange for Phillips over the coming months.
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Tuanzebe has proven his worth at Premier League level with Aston Villa over the last few years but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot while on loan at Napoli over the course of this season. He appears to have little in the way of a future at United but could do a job at Leeds, who have conceded more goals than any other club in England’s top flight since the beginning of the campaign.
The 24-year-old’s versatility allows him to fit into a number of different positions across the back four and he still has time to develop into a top-class operator if he is given the opportunity to shine in the right environment. He could serve as an enticing makeweight in any deal to see Phillips make the switch to Old Trafford, but whether or not Leeds would be willing to accept the United man in return would be another story.
United may also decide to go down the like-for-like route by including McTominay as a bargaining chip in their efforts to prise Phillips away from Elland Road in the near future. The Scot has featured regularly for his current club in recent years but has often been criticised for a lack of consistency in big matches, which has led to suggestions that he may be just short of the quality required to continue playing for United on a long-term basis.
Like Tuanzebe, he is another player who could reap the rewards of a fresh start elsewhere in order to reignite his career in a brand new environment. McTominay’s arrival at Leeds would also offer the Yorkshire outfit an immediate replacement for Phillips, who would likely move ahead of the 25-year-old in the pecking order at United if he decides to join them in the summer months.
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A loan move for Garner could be another option for United to explore in order to drive down Phillips’ asking price between now and the start of next season. The 21-year-old is one the club’s highest-rated youth prospects and has been impressing in the Championship with Nottingham Forest over the course of the current campaign.
The next logical step would be to try his luck in the Premier League and Leeds could provide him with the perfect opportunity to show off his talents next season if they manage to secure top-flight survival over the coming weeks. Garner has already been named by Bruno Fernandes as the academy star that he most wants to play with in future and has every chance of being able to shine at Leeds if the move can be arranged following the end of the season.
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