Leeds United’s summer transfer window appears to have been hit by a fresh blow, after it was reported by Football Insider that midfielder Kalvin Phillips has rejected the club’s initial offer of a new contract to keep him at Elland Road.
This will be a significant concern for Leeds with reported interest from newly promoted Aston Villa in Phillips refusing to go away, and it seems that the Yorkshire side are already looking at potential replacements for the midfielder.
According to Sun journalist Alan Nixon, Stoke City midfielder Ryan Woods is being lined up as a potential replacement for Phillips at Elland Road, although you wonder have to wonder just how suitable an alternative the 25-year-old will be should he get the call to step in for Phillips in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Woods only joined Stoke from Championship rivals Brentford last summer, and as can be seen from the graphic above he didn’t enjoy quite as much success last season as Phillips did.
Whereas Phillips was a dominant force in the centre of the park for Leeds last season, the stats shown here appear to suggest that Woods struggled to have quite that sort of impact during his debut campaign at Stoke.
While Phillips was able to average over 2.5 tackles per game for Leeds, Woods was only just averaging more than one per game, indicating that he may struggle to control the game in that area of the pitch should he make the move to Elland Road.
There is also likely to be a concern around the disparity between the two midfielders ability in the air, with Phillips’ winning on average 1.5 aerial duels more per game than Woods last season.
Should such a change in personnel be made, that could lead to yet more concerns for Leeds next season, with regards to both their ability to defend their own area from set pieces and their effectiveness in attacking the opposition area in similar situations.
One area, however, where Woods does match Phillips is his passing, with both averaging around 58 passes per game, with Woods’ even recording a slightly better pass success rate, and averaging a slightly higher return when it comes to long balls played per game.
But while that does indicate that Woods may be able to still make things happen for Leeds from a deeper position, concerns will continue to remain about his ability to compete as well as Phillips off the ball, something which does not bode well for him with these stats here.
It was that dominance that earned Phillips such popularity at Elland Road – and with it a place in the EFL’s Championship Team of the Season – last year, and you feel that these stats appear to suggest that Woods would struggle to reproduce that form, something that may only add to Leeds concerns as they look to build last year’s agonising near miss in their push for promotion next season.