Nottingham Forest targeted an audacious loan swoop for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips in the summer of 2019, according to the Athletic.
Phillips had just helped Leeds reach a Championship play-off semi-final after an impressive first season under the watchful eye of Marcelo Bielsa.
The midfielder made 42 Championship appearances in 2018/19, establishing himself as a key cog in Bielsa’s midfield having been converted into a holding midfielder, and the lynchpin of the Argentine’s side.
After an impressive individual campaign, as well as Leeds’ failure to win promotion to the Premier League, Phillips was believed to be the subject of multi-million pound interest from Aston Villa, who went up that year instead of the Whites.
Phillips remained at his boyhood club, though, penning a new five-year deal at Elland Road the following September, and eventually going on to help Leeds make a long-awaited return to England’s top-flight.
According to the Athletic, Nottingham Forest plotted a hugely ambitious attempt to sign Phillips on loan after the 2018/19 season, despite the midfielder taking his game to another level under the tutelage of Bielsa.
Leeds’ Stuart Dallas was also believed to be a target, but both players were to stay at Elland Road and play vital parts in their promotion.
This is baffling to be honest, and it may well be concerning for Forest fans in some respect.
The fact that Villa and other clubs were offering huge sums of money to get Phillips out of Leeds speak volumes of how good he is, and how well he had done under Bielsa.
It’s almost borderline disrespectful to think that Forest wanted him on loan, as they looked to go toe-to-toe with Leeds in the race for promotion from the Championship.