Aston Villa have got the upper-hand in the race to sign Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips as he will be keen to work under Villa Park chief Steven Gerrard, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.
Gerrard was appointed as the Midlands club’s head coach in November, succeeding the sacked Dean Smith, and it appears he could play a key role in persuading Phillips to join when the window reopens for business in the summer.
What’s the latest news involving Phillips?
According to The Times, Villa have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Phillips and are willing to pay £60million to get their man.
The report suggests the second city giants are ready to offer the 19-cap England international a lucrative salary after being identified as a key target by Gerrard.
Parting with £60million would result in Phillips comfortably becoming the most expensive arrival in Villa’s history.
However, it appears Gerrard is not the only boss coveting the 26-year-old as West Ham United saw a £50million bid turned down by Leeds in January and the Hammers are expected to return with a fresh proposal at the end of the season.
It has previously been reported that Liverpool and Manchester United will also enter a bidding war for Phillips in the summer.
Phillips’ £38,000-per-week Leeds contract is set to expire in just over two years.
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What has Dean Jones said about Phillips?
Jones believes Villa boss Gerrard’s influence could play a key role in luring Phillips away from Elland Road.
The transfer insider feels the central midfielder will be interested in joining as the Midlands club look to become regular qualifiers for European football.
Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “I think if Kalvin Phillips were to leave Leeds, he would be looking for certain aspects to fit what he’s looking for.
“Aston Villa have got Steven Gerrard and that, obviously, is a massive positive for them in terms of persuading him.
“They’re going to be pushing for European football from this point on and that’s the aim, so that’ll suit him.”
Why is Phillips of interest to Villa?
Phillips was a key member of Gareth Southgate’s side as England reached the Euro 2020 final last summer, with the Leeds man only missing 25 minutes of the entire tournament.
Although he has been unavailable for a large chunk of the season due to picking up a hamstring injury in his current employers’ 2-2 draw with Brentford last December, Phillips has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water since winning the Championship title in 2020.
Phillips, who has been described as ‘immense’ by England boss Southgate, has made 41 appearances in the top flight and represented his hometown club 226 times having nailed down a midfield spot since coming through the ranks.