This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Regular Punter’ series, where we gather original opinions from select, passionate fans of the clubs concerned on matters surrounding their team and share them with a wider audience…
Football League World’s Leeds United fan pundit Bradley Marshall has suggested it is inevitable that talismanic midfielder Kalvin Phillips will leave the club if they don’t achieve promotion this season.
Phillips, who signed a new five-year deal at Elland Road yesterday, has been a key player for Marcelo Bielsa this season and has featured in every single game so far.
The 23-year-old reportedly attracted the attention of a number of Premier League clubs in the summer, including Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa, and Marshall believes tying him down to a new contract was a big statement.
He explained: “It sends a massive statement of intent as he is now one of our highest earners at the club.
“We fended off Premier League interest and managed to not only keep him but to get him to sign a long-term contract, which in my opinion is superb business.
“This also means were he to leave next summer, it would cost even more to snatch him away which could put certain pursuers off.”
According to Football Insider, the contract includes a release clause of between £20 and £25 million.
Bradley indicated that he expected there to be such a clause in the deal but that he was worried about Phillips’ future at the club.
He said: “I am very concerned, I think it is inevitable that if we fail to achieve promotion this year he will leave to pursue Premier League and international football.
“I believe it is in his best interest to leave Leeds should we fail to be promoted as he has to keep taking steps forward in his career. To do that anywhere other than Leeds is heartbreaking to think about but for Kalvin’s own sake it has to be done should we fail.
“We cannot keep Phillips forever without delivering on the promise of Premier League football. The most honest opinion I can give is that this is the do-or-die season for Leeds.
“If we don’t go up, this will probably be Marcelo Bielsa’s last season and Phillips will likely be bought out of his contract.
“That would mean we are virtually back to square one as a club and all of the good work we have done over the last few years means nothing.
“However, I hope I’m wrong and that we dominate the league and manage to play at a consistent pace all season rather than tiring around Easter.”
Leeds are currently third in the Championship and travel to Oakwell to face newly-promoted Barnsley on Sunday.