Kalvin Phillips is set to spark a £50million transfer scramble next summer – with Tottenham and Liverpool both closely watching the Leeds United midfielder.
Phillips has made a splash in the Premier League and with England in the opening weeks of the new season and is a wanted man.
The 24-year-old star is already stirring interest at Anfield and White Hart Lane with Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho both impressed by the Leeds star who has seen his stock rise dramatically in just a few weeks.
That new profile has been welcomed by Elland Road boss Marcelo Bielsa who watched Phillips perform for England on TV.
But it has given the Yorkshire giants a financial headache that top six Premier League clubs are prepared to exploit.
Leeds-born Phillips signed a new five-year contract a year ago tying himself to the club until 2024 before Bielsa’s squad had even secured theor ticket back to the big time.
It’s believed the star agreed a £30,000-a-week wage package – but both Spurs and Liverpool would more than double that if they can persuade Leeds to sell their midfield anchorman next summer.
Mourinho is known to have been impressed by the Leeds enforcer as he looks to reshape his Spurs side for the future.
Holding midfielder Moussa Sissoko will be 32 before the start of next season while there’s an on-going conversation whether Eric Dier’s long term future at the club is as a centre-back rather than a defensive midfielder.
Liverpool have a doubt over the long-term future of Dutch midfielder Gini Wijnaldum who is into the last year of his contract at Anfield.
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The experienced Holland international is wanted by Barcelona and is more than open to moving to the Nou Camp to team-up with former Dutch national boss Ronald Koeman who is now in charge of the Spanish super-power.
That would leave Klopp short of a driving force in midfield to share the load with Jordan Henderson, Thiago and Naby Keita – with Phillips being watched by Liverpool’s scouting team.
Bielsa’s high-energy pressing style is in line with the way both Tottenham and Liverpool like to play with Phillips at the hub of he way Leeds operate their system.
But prising Phillips away from his boyhood club will be a difficult task – even for the £50 million Leeds now rate the midfielder.
Aston Villa failed with a £25 million bid for the star last year and didn’t get past first base in conversations with the Leeds hierarchy who weren’t interested in selling.
It proved a smart move by United who finally won promotion back to the Premier League with Phillips an integral part of their success.
And Bielsa is delighted at the way Phillips is performing on the international stage – with Leeds set to reap the benefits.
“It is very positive as he is competing at international level and he is also disputing for a place with the best players in England.
“I think that Phillips is a versatile player that can play in different styles.
“In the national team he plays in the centre of the pitch and in our team he plays in the same position. And the things he picks up playing for England will surely make him better.”
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