Leeds United owe Marcelo Bielsa a lot and by ‘Leeds United’ I mean the club and the fans. He has come in, totally reinvented how the club is run and the style of football they play. One player feeling the benefit of this reinvention has been Kalvin Phillips. However, Danny Mills, in speaking to Football Insider, questions whether the Whites are a big enough draw to Kalvin Phillips if it comes to matching his ambitions.
To say that Kalvin Phillips was a jobbing midfielder before Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival would do the local lad a disservice. He was a more-than-decent box-to-box midfielder who seemingly had bundles of energy to spare. He was amongst the goals before Bielsa’s arrival but the legendary Argentinian had other plans for Phillips.
Instead of his more central role, Bielsa moved him back to a more usual #6 role, anchoring the base of the Leeds United midfield and providing an additional tumbler to the Whites lock when it came to defence. Bielsa’s thinking was never in doubt and the experiment has proven to be a success with Phillips reinvented and turned into the type of player that Premier League sides are eying with some jealousy.
Phillips has said many times that he wants to stay at his boyhood club and be a part of their success going forwards. The Whites sit atop the Sky Bet Championship table and, with only nine games left to play, are well set for promotion to the Premier League. However, former Whites defender Danny Mills hints that Leeds United might not be a big enough draw when it comes to fulfilling the dreams of their talented midfield general.
Commenting on this, Mills tells Football Insider: “Realistically, he will be looking to play for England in the next few years and I doubt Leeds will be challenging for the Champions League or title in the next three seasons…If a massive club comes in with a big bid and trebles his wages – it is a no brainer. As much as you love the club, it is a no brainer.”
Linking his thoughts to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Mills then states: “Football is a business and when we come out of this current situation it will be more of a business. Every player has their price.”
The price being passed around for Philips mentions sums between £20 million and £25 million – these are fees that many established sides in the Premier League wouldn’t bat an eyelid at paying out for a young, English midfielder such as Kalvin Phillips who has been well-schooled like he has been under the guiding hand of Marcelo Bielsa.