We all knew that John Terry was going to utilise his contacts within Chelsea, as he showed last year by bringing in Tammy Abraham to help fire them to play-off success. And it looks as if Villa are going to pull off the same again this summer, turning to young Welshman Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea this season.
This is going to be great news for Leeds United and their fans, as it should end any interest Villa had in Leeds’ star midfielder Kalvin Phillips, with The Express And Star reporting a bid could be lodged by the end of the month. Leeds are likely to play hardball with the newly promoted side, though, with reports suggesting they won’t accept anything less than £20m for him.
The two players play the same role of defensive midfield, and even have the same level of flexibility, being able to play at centre back too if required. That then leaves them with a conundrum; who do they pick? If you’re Aston Villa, surely you take Ampadu. Rather than spending the money on a player who’s only played at Championship level, they’d be better off taking the cheaper player who has made a mark at international level.
Even if Villa decide to come for Phillips instead, or maybe even both, the £20m that they’d bid should be batted away at the first opportunity if Leeds United are serious about making another push for promotion this year. Any money that they turn down now, will be repaid if they earn promotion at the end of the year. That’s why keeping hold of Phillips is so vital to them, he was the heart of that team, a rock in front of and then sometimes part of the backline.
Leeds United need as much stability as they can get this season, they were so close to getting promoted last season, both automatically and then through the playoffs. They need to use that as a building block for this season, rather than making subtractions, make additions to that squad. Even keeping the same squad and learning from mistakes last season would be an improvement. And given how hard we know Bielsa works, you’d be a fool to think they’ll make those mistakes again.