Aston Villa: Gerrard factor 'might appeal' to £60m target at Villa Park

Steven Gerrard taking charge of Aston Villa's final Premier League game of the season

Aston Villa could win the race for Kalvin Phillips’ signature as working under Steven Gerrard at Villa Park ‘might appeal’ to the Leeds United midfielder, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

Gerrard took over as Villa’s head coach in November and led the Midlands giants to a 14th place finish in the Premier League, but it appears he has set his sights on bolstering his midfield with Phillips.

What’s the latest news involving Phillips?

Villa and Newcastle United have emerged as the frontrunners for Phillips’ services ahead of the transfer window reopening for business next month.

However, Villa may have the upper-hand as it is understood that they are willing to part with £60million in order to strike a deal with Leeds, while they could also offer the 26-year-old a bumper contract worth £10million-per-year.

Forking out that sum of money would result in Phillips comfortably becoming the Midlands outfit’s club-record signing, while they have already drafted in a central midfielder by agreeing a deal which will see Boubacar Kamara head to Villa Park after his Marseille contract expires next month.

But Gerrard is facing further competition from West Ham United – who failed with a £50million bid in January – and Manchester United for Phillips.

The 19-cap England international has also been ear-marked as Manchester City’s top target to replace the departing Fernandinho.

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What has Pete O’Rourke said about Phillips?

O’Rourke believes having Gerrard at the helm could play into Villa’s hands as they look to lure Phillips to the Midlands.

The journalist reckons there is a distinct possibility that Phillips may feel he would improve under the tutelage of the former central midfielder.

O’Rourke told GIVEMESPORT: “I think the chance to maybe work under a top midfielder, like Gerrard was, might appeal to Kalvin Phillips.

“He might think it would help improve his own game. There will be lots that Villa would be hoping might appeal to Phillips if it does come down to a race for his signature.”

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Will it be easy to strike a deal with Leeds?

Phillips played the full 90 minutes as Leeds overcame Brentford to maintain their Premier League status on the final day of the season.

That could count against Villa in their pursuit as the midfielder had a release clause written into his contract which could only be activated if the Whites dropped into the Championship.

As Leeds have remained in the top flight, they can still call the shots when it comes to what they want for the fans’ favourite and, with his £38,000-per-week contract still having more than two years to run, they are not in an immediate rush to sell their prised asset.

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