Kalvin Phillips remained a Leeds United player over the course of the summer, much to the delight of the Elland Road faithful.
Leeds rely on Phillips to be their midfield anchor, and he’s shown his importance in the opening three games of the 2019/20 season.
Now, the challenge for the Whites is tying him down to fresh terms, which is making good progress, according to Phil Hay.
“They are speaking and my understanding is that they’re getting close,” he wrote on The Athletic’s Q&A (15/08). “Both sides want to make it happen and I expect that they will.”
Here, we discuss the topic in a FLW Six Point Opinion…
Firstly, explain the significance of this…
“The summer transfer window was mixed for Leeds; yes, Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah were high-profile arrivals at Elland Road, but key players moved on.
“Pontus Jansson and Kemar Roofe are now elsewhere, whilst Jack Clarke’s long-term future lies away from Leeds.
“Had Phillips gone, there would’ve been a riot at Elland Road and the fans would’ve turned on Andrea Radrizzani and the rest of the board.
“So, getting him tied down to a new contract would be massive and a show of intent after a mixed period.”
What’s Phillips’ current deal looking like?
“There’s still two years to run on it, but it is time to offer him fresh terms.
“2017 was when he last signed an extension, and he’s improved so much under Marcelo Bielsa, which in turn, means he deserves a better wage.
“Phillips is 23 now and will feel he deserves to be amongst the club’s top earners. Leeds do appear to recognise that.”
Had the Whites fielded interest in Phillips in the summer?
“Yes, Angus Kinnear confirmed that in an Athletic interview at the close of the window, whilst other reports seemed to link Aston Villa with a move for Phillips.
“You’d imagine it was significant money thrown down for the midfielder, and it was a show of intent for Leeds to retain his service.
“When the window closed and an image emerged of Philips at Thorp Arch with a smile on his face, you could sense the relief in West Yorkshire.”
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 8, 2019
So, a new contract announcement seems imminent?
“According to Phil Hay, which is a big update in the eyes of many Leeds fans, things seems on course.
“Whether an announcement is imminent or not remains to be seen, but it does seem Phillips wants to commit to Leeds.
“That’s the most encouraging part of this, there’s no desire to move from the player.”
What will that mean in terms of January?
“It puts Leeds in a really strong position in terms of retaining Phillips’ service.
“Should Phillips’ deal run into its final 18 months, his price is being driven down and Leeds’ place at the negotiating table shrinks.
“With a four or five year deal on the table and a significant wage, Leeds hold all the cards and can snub interest in the next few windows without worrying about Phillips’ value decreasing.”
Finally, what will be going through Marcelo Bielsa’s mind as all this unfolds?
“Bielsa speaks very fondly about Phillips’ attitude and ability, with the 23-year-old clearly a favourite of the Argentine, which has been evident since he arrived at the club and built his side around him.
“Whilst he didn’t kick up too much fuss when Jansson and Roofe were sold, you feel that wouldn’t be the case if Phillips was flogged.
“Keeping Phillips happy will keep Bielsa happy, which has to be the club’s overall aim.”