When Leeds United finally managed to tie down key midfielder Kalvin Phillips to a new deal the other week there was plenty of reason for celebration in the fanbase.
With all the speculation over the summer linking him with a move to newly promoted Aston Villa, in particular, the news that we’d tied him down to a new five year deal, on top of the rumours doing the rounds that the 23-year-old never wanted to leave anyway, was a massive boost as we continue to chase promotion under manager Marcelo Bielsa at the second time of asking in the 2019/20 Championship campaign.
With a strong belief that Phillips continues to have top flight suitors though, Dean Ashton is the latest pundit to suggest that we may still have a battle on our hands next summer if we don’t achieve our aim, as ultimately, whether Phillips wants to stay at Elland Road or not, the lure of Premier League money will always be a draw for a player.
“All it means is that Leeds will get a bit more for him if he does leave because he has that longer-term on his deal now. He’ll probably end up getting more money personally too. But I genuinely think that he wants to stay and he wants to get them promoted; I don’t think there’s any doubt about that but there’s a lot of Premier League clubs looking at him. You do wonder if they don’t go up this season, though, will he be on his way? Because I would be absolutely astonished if he didn’t move if they didn’t go up next summer.”
Loyalty in football in today’s game is a rare commodity, but you’d like to think Phillips would be in that bracket and even if we don’t make it this year, if he can see positive steps, he would still remain.
But players do move on, and at least with the new contract, it means we can absolutely maximise any fee and reinvest it to achieve our aim if the worst happens.
But let’s deal with ifs and buts next May.