West Ham are set to rival Aston Villa for talismanic Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, as they reportedly consider an improved bid for the star.
Phillips has been one of Leeds’ most important players in his time at the club. Indeed, he was instrumental in their ninth-placed Premier League finish on their return to the top flight.
The midfielder has been out of the side for a lengthy period this season, due to a hamstring injury. He has played just 12 league games this term, and the Whites have struggled without him.
During the 15-game period that Phillips has missed to this point, Leeds have lost 10 games, and they sit 16th in the league.
As well as his influence at Leeds, Phillips established himself as a crucial member of the England side during Euro 2020. The 26-year-old did not miss a game during England’s impressive campaign, that saw them fall agonisingly short in the final.
Given Phillips’ influence in the teams he represents, he has gained respect from other sides, who want to prise him away from Elland Road.
It was recently reported that Aston Villa – who have been linked with the midfielder for some time – were prepared to offer £60million for his services.
Phillips’ contract is up at Leeds in 2024, and while he seems keen on staying put, there have been no advances in contract negotiations as yet.
As such, the battle between Villa and West Ham could lead to Phillips finally moving on from his boyhood club.
Phillips and Ayling among spirited Leeds core
Phillips returned to the squad for the first time since December last time out, in the 3-2 win over Wolves. His impact in lifting the squad from the bench, despite not even entering the pitch, was evident.
Another Leeds man whose impact is clear is Luke Ayling. Indeed, he scored the stoppage-time winner against Wolves.
Gary Neville praised the character of the star, following the statement win.
“I think Ayling can only play the game one way,” Neville said.
“He has massive energy, he’s a big spirit in the team. He’s won Leeds the game in the second half.”
The energy of the likes of Ayling and Phillips will be key in Leeds surviving the drop this season.