Kalvin Phillips and Kemar Roofe were two key players for Leeds last season, and will hopefully be again next term. But the Whites duo are highly sort-after this summer, and new contracts are yet to be agreed.
United Director of Football Victor Orta has told Leeds Live that he is confident the pair will put pen to paper on new deals however, and is assured in himself that both will be at Elland Road after the transfer window has slammed shut.
Orta addressed Phillips and Roofe’s futures at a fan even held ahead of Wednesday’s pre-season friendly with Manchester United, and echoed the comments of Managing Director Angus Kinnear, who was likewise buoyant in the chances of Phillips remaining a Whites player.
Talks between the club and Phillips’ representatives are ongoing, with Orta leading United’s efforts to retain the defensive midfielder, who has attracted a lot of Premier League interest this summer.
Phillips is understood to be hopeful of landing a new contract in West Yorkshire that would elevate him into the same wage bracket as the club’s highest earners Kiko Casilla and Patrick Bamford, which is the same demands being put on the table by Roofe.
While hope remains on both sides, Phillips has rejected an offer by the club this month, but Orta’s comments suggest a deal for the defensive midfielder – and Roofe – may be close.
“[Phillips’ future is] not a negotiation,” Orta stated. “He is a Leeds United player, and will be a Leeds United player for the season 2019/20.”
He added: “Leeds United want Kalvin Phillips to stay next year 100 per cent.
“Yes, personally, as Victor Orta, I believe [he will sign a new deal]. The same [goes for Roofe]. Personally, I believe he will stay.”
Comments like these from Orta must now be backed up by progress in negotiations, as they cannot turn out to be nothing more than hot air. Both players will be pivotal to whatever we achieve next season, and finding an adequate replacement at such short notice could leave the club scraping the bottom of the barrel in fear of being priced out of our top targets.