Leeds United Academy graduate, Kalvin Phillips’ star was on the rise at Elland Road and the now 28 year old was earning plenty of plaudits for his effective style of play as a defensive midfielder.
With over 200 games under his belt for the club as they made their return to the Premier League, the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ attracted a lot of attention, particularly with him now involved in the England international camp, and in the summer of 2022, Manchester City made their move for him, securing a reported £42 million deal for his services.
However, it would not be unfair to say the switch to the Etihad Stadium has been an unmitigated disaster and in his time with them so far, he has only made six starting appearances across all competitions for them, with slightly better game time coming as a substitute with an additional 25 appearances from the bench.
In 2023/24 he has only featured in ten games so far, and naturally the transfer window rumour mill has long been full of speculation that manager Pep Guardiola is very open to letting him leave on a permanent deal, but given the finances required for that to happen, a loan deal is far more likely to occur during the January window.
Even a loan deal would need City to continue to cover at least part of his wages, and with a number of English sides linked with him, Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma outfit has been suggested as one potential option in Italy Serie A division, and Crystal Palace gaffer Roy Hodgson has been the latest to speak publicly about having an interest in Phillips – but even Hodgson was openly very honest about the potential financial hurdles that would need to be solved first, before absolutely anything could happen from their end.
“I would like to think that if Kalvin Phillips is available and a possibility for the club – once again, there will be financial restrictions, who knows whether the club feels they will be able to afford that – but if you’re talking about the level of player, I don’t feel there will be many managers who would not say ‘yeah, we will be really happy to have him come to the club’.”
Hodgson further offered that it seemed to be widely accepted in football that Phillips would be on the move this month, and if not certainly in the summer, but from Palace’s point of view, if it was a permanent deal it would rule them out. A sensible loan arrangement could be doable though, as they could certainly offer the player the game time he wants and the chance to get his career back on track – but he appreciated Palace would not be the only club that could offer him that.
Making a deal more likely to go through is Phillips has one eye on England, and despite seeming to break his own selection rules for a while, Gareth Southgate has changed his tune on Phillips and his match minutes if it does not change as we approach the summer.
It could be a very busy final week of the window again this year.