Manchester United reportedly advancing on deal to sign Kalvin Phillips

Manchester United are already advancing in talks to sign Kalvin Phillips from bitter rivals Leeds United, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Erik ten Hag is closing in on becoming United’s next long-term manager and the club is seemingly already working on targets for the summer.

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Still plenty to do

The report says that ten Hag would have the chance to veto any players that the club gets far along in negotiations with, which is absolutely correct.

It might be that the new man has a different idea of who he wants to bring into his midfield.

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Earlier this week, it was reported that Ruben Neves at Wolves was Ten Hag’s top midfield target. We won’t know for sure until he gets his feet under the table.

The Telegraph are reporting that United want two high energy midfielders, so perhaps both could come in, but the other doubts surround Phillips personally.

He is a boyhood Leeds fan who clearly loves the club. Would he really cross the divide, with all that it would mean on and off the pitch?

Alan Smith did it, so there is a precedent, but it must be acknowledged that it would be a huge step for Phillips to make and we still have scepticism that he will do it.

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The report says that from a purely footballing perspective, United are confident of beating suitors such as Aston Villa and Newcastle.

United are of course another level entirely from those clubs, but if Liverpool or Manchester City joined the race, it would be understandable if Phillips preferred a less acrimonious move to a club which is currently more successful.

It seems a deal for Phillips would be cheaper than for his England teammate and long-term United target Declan Rice, especially if Leeds got relegated.

A win over Watford this weekend would probably make them all but safe, while United move closer to confirming the appointment of their new manager.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.