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If Orta says yes to the £20m, Leeds’ Phillips replacement is right under their nose: Opinion

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With just four games left to play this season, Leeds United are back in the driving seat in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

It has been an extraordinary season for all concerned with the club, with plenty of players stepping up to the plate to become hugely important players under the 63-year old.

Kalvin Phillips is a player who has really stepped up his game a level or two since the arrival of Bielsa – the 23-year old has been such a crucial player for Leeds this term, holding the midfield exceptionally well on his own.

The versatile midfielder was deservedly given a place in the Sky Bet Championship Team of the Year, and is likely to attract interest from a host of high-profile clubs in the summer, regardless of which division Leeds find themselves in.

Reports have surfaced (The Sun on Sunday 14/04, page 61) claiming that top-flight outfit Southampton are weighing up a £20million bid for the midfielder, after a hugely impressive campaign thus far.

This transfer news is likely to split the Elland Road faithful right down the middle – on one hand, Phillips is such an important player for Leeds and Bielsa, and they will be hoping that he can stay at the club for many years to come unlike Lewis Cook and Ronaldo Vieira.

But on the other hand, £20million is still a lot of money for Leeds, regardless of whether they are in the Premier League or the Championship next season, and if Victor Orta does decide to accept a multi-million pound bid for the player, then his replacement could well be under their nose.

Hugo Diaz is a player who is catching the eye for Carlos Corberan’s under-23 side, and has been influential in their Professional Development League and Premier League Cup campaign.

The Spaniard, who can play in either defence or in holding midfield, would be a like-for-like replacement for Phillips, who has played in both central defence and midfield this season, whether that be in a 3-3-3-1 formation or 4-1-4-1 system.

Calm on the ball and solid at going forwards and backwards, plenty of fans have called for the 22-year old to be called up to the first-team, and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jack Clarke, Jamie Shackleton and Aapo Halme.

Having made just one senior appearance for the Whites since joining from Deportivo last term, he will surely feel that his time to impress is fast approaching, and he could well be a fantastic replacement for Phillips.

ScoopDragon Football News Network