Journalist Conor McGilligan took to Twitter to plead with Leeds United to sign two midfielders – one to start and one to back up Kalvin Phillips, who the Whites ‘can’t rely on’ to stay fit for the entire season.
Since securing their Premier League safety on the last day of the season under manager Jesse Marsch, Leeds have been making moves in the summer transfer market already, bringing in attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson and right-back Rasmus Kristensen from Red Bull Salzburg.
The Yorkshire team are looking to continue this good form after recently being linked with Liverpool super-sub Takumi Minamino, whose departure is reportedly ‘imminent’.
However, according to McGilligan, they need to continue to look in the midfield – specifically the defensive side – as key man Phillips is a liability with his fitness as he missed a chunk of the most recent season and was recently injured during England’s 1-1 draw with Germany in the Nations League.
McGilligan wrote on Twitter: “Surely you’ve got to get a defensive midfielder to start and get a loan signing in to come in whenever Kalvin is injured? Mo Camara + another. Can’t rely on KP to stay fit for the full season – which would then force Leeds to do more square pegs in round holes.”
TIF Thoughts on McGilligan’s comments…
While Leeds have performed incredibly well so early on in this summer’s transfer window, a big glaring hole in their team is the level of class in defensive midfield. Outside of Phillips, they only really have Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw who can comfortably play in that position, which is a huge problem with Phillips’ fitness issues.
This past season, Phillips only managed 20 appearances, scoring zero goals in this time and only grabbing one assist. McGilligan has touted Mohamed Camara to join the club, and the Malian impressed during the most recent campaign at RB Salzburg, making 36 appearances across all competitions with one goal and five assists from the defensive midfield position.
Replacing Phillips is always going to be hard, as he ranks in the 98th percentile for pressures with 28.42 per game, while he ranks 97th for tackles and 96th for blocks across Europe’s top leagues, according to FBRef.
Camara, however, can bring something new to the position because as well as ranking in the 84th percentile for tackles, he ranks in the 98th for assists and 77th for progressive passes. Based on this, Camara could make for a great partner to Phillips given the more attacking edge to his game, but they will still need a more solid defensive backup for the injury-prone England international.
Will Phillips play all of next seaosn?