Leeds United are set to see the club’s resolve put to the test in the summer as Wolverhampton Wanderers are eyeing a swoop for Kalvin Phillips, according to Football Insider.
The Molineux outfit held a strong interest in Phillips last summer following their stellar campaign back in the Premier League, but were among the clutch of outfits that saw approaches rebuffed by Whites chiefs.
United announced in September alongside Phillips’ new, five-year contract that we had rejected several offers for the 5 ft 10 defensive midfielder following our failed Play-Off campaign, with some said to have been worth more than £20million.
Should the same unfold over the coming months, a revised approach from Wolves is believed to be on the cards with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side aware that a successful promotion charge will likely see Phillips remain at Elland Road.
If not, the 24-year-old will be available for a fee in excess of £20m due to a clause inserted in Phillips’ contract, and Wolves intend to hold regular scouting missions to monitor the Leeds-born ace over the remainder of the term whilst they mull over another chase for his signature.
Wolves have not been afraid to splash the cash in recent years, with the big-spending Black Country side splurging £15.8m to land Ruben Neves while still in the second-tier before concluding deals for £18m man Adama Traore, £15m Jonny Castro Otto and £16m Rui Patricio before breaking their transfer record to land Raul Jimenez from Benfica for £30m.
Could we challenge for promotion without Phillips?
Affording Phillips in the region of £20m should be no challenge for Wolves, then, so Leeds failing to secure promotion this season could see a vital piece of Marcelo Bielsa’s jigsaw leave Elland Road at the close of the campaign.
Phillips has started all 27 of his Championship appearances this season, with his only absences coming as a result of the yellow card suspension reached in December and his three-game ban for a red card shown at QPR last month.
Despite missing those matches, Phillips has made the most successful tackles of any Leeds player with 79 from 123 attempts, per WhoScored data, and ranks joint-first for accurate long passes (141), second for shots blocked (11), third for passes blocked (22), key balls (54), aerial duels won (57), fourth for interceptions (35), accurate short passes (1088) and is fifth for clearances (34).
Phillips leaving the side would leave a gap no player currently at Elland Road would likely be able to fill, and could arguably cost more to replace than Wolves would be obliged to pay.
In other Leeds United news, the club do not envisage a 7-cap man playing another game for the Whites.