How does the saying go? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
After Adam Pope’s comments on West Yorkshire Sport Daily yesterday concerning Kalvin Phillips, if Leeds are indeed eventually forced to sell the 23-year-old, as Pope thinks they might have to, then they need to look for players to fill that defensive midfield spot. As if by magic, there might be one in the pipeline.
According to The Daily Mail, Leeds United have joined Birmingham City in the hunt for Croatian U21 player Ivan Sunjic. The report states that the Midlands side have already lodged a £3.5m bid for the Dinamo Zagreb midfielder.
Sunjic had sporadic appearances in the Europa League for Dinamo Zagreb, but was pretty prominent in their league campaign, starting 22 times for them as they won the league by some distance. He’s also made 18 appearances for the Croatia U21 side and has captained them on a few occasions, so there’s some leadership qualities to him as well.
I have spoken before about how Leeds may need to make a tough decision when it comes to the defensive midfield role when they were linked with Ander Itturaspe. The decision though has to be made sooner rather than later, or they risk either losing out on these players, or on the windfall that selling someone like Kalvin Phillips would bring.
Now whilst Kalvin Phillips was such a vital part to the team last year, both as a defensive midfielder and occasionally at centre back, there has to be a time where logic takes control over sentimentality. Whilst Sunjic plays primarily as a defensive midfielder, if they can buy him for less than what they’d sell Kalvin Phillips for, which is rumoured to be around £14m, with Sunjic likely to cost in the region of £3.5m, then that’s more than £10m that can be spent on a potential centre back to replace him as well.
After coming so close to promotion last season, and with the owner talking about how important promotion is for him and the club, are they willing to sacrifice someone so important to them, if it means they can get some funds into the team and create a starting eleven, and a deeper squad beyond that, that will get to the rich land of the Premier League as soon as possible.