Hay: Phillips deal is close

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Kalvin Phillips is “very close” to┬ásigning a new deal with Leeds United, according to Phil Hay.

The 23-year-old midfielder was the subject of much speculation over the summer, with The Sun reporting that Aston Villa were keen to snap him up as uncertainty reigned over his contract situation.

But Phillips ended up staying at Elland Road, and it is understood that a new contract agreement is becoming more and more likely.

Writing in a Q&A for The Athletic, Hay wrote: “Kalvin is very close and all sides expect that a deal will get done.

“They seem to be virtually agreed on the finances and I imagine there’ll be some form of release clause (high value) to protect Phillips if Leeds don’t go up.”

TiF Tactics – How good is Phillips?

It cannot be underestimated how important Kalvin Phillips is to this Leeds side.

Over the course of the past couple of seasons he has grown into one of the finest midfield enforcers in the Championship, and there is absolutely no doubt that he could be plying his trade in the Premier League – he is that good.

So much is often made of the slick, attractive manner of Bielsa’s footballing philosophy, but the way that Leeds play would be so much more difficult to achieve without Phillips in the engine room.

Over the course of the first six games of the new Championship season, he has been superb, averaging 4.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per match, as well as 1.8 clearances, as per Whoscored.

He is the disruptor in the heart of midfield, breaking up opposition attacks and getting his side back on the ball.

But Phillips is so much more than a demolition man.

So far this term he has averaged a pass completion rate of 86.4%, as per Whoscored, including a massive 7.3 successful long passes per game.

Phillips is the first link in United’s attacking chain, building the foundations for those players ahead of him to go and pull off the spectacular.

Most interesting, however, is his use of a long ball.

By sucking players into the areas of high pressure, Phillips is then able to spring United in behind or into areas of greater space.

That allows his teammates to switch the point of attack more readily, and means that they are able to pick off opposition defences with greater ease.

Phillips is crucial.

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