Ralf Rangnick Refuses To Focus On Table But Admits Top-four Hopes Unfavourable
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Manchester United’s hopes of sealing a summer swoop for Kalvin Phillips have been dealt a blow, with reports claiming that Aston Villa are set to join them in the race for the Leeds star. United have been linked with a move for the England maestro on numerous occasions this season as they search for an elite defensive midfielder.
Speculation over Phillips’ long-term future has ramped up in recent weeks, with Leeds keen to tie their homegrown star down to a bumper new deal. But talks over fresh terms have stalled – and the Whites could now face a real battle to hang onto the 26-year-old, who has also evolved into a key player for England over the past 12 months.
Phillips is one a of a number of players – including his Three Lions team-mate Declan Rice – who have been earmarked as a potential target for Manchester United as they bid to bolster their squad at the end of the season.
However, according to The Telegraph, Aston Villa have now emerged as credible competition in the race to prise Phillips away from Elland Road – three years after they saw their initial interest in the midfield enforcer rebuffed by the Whites.
The report claims that Steven Gerrard is desperate to sign an anchorman who is capable of both ‘screening’ Villa’s rearguard and progressing the Midlands outfit further up the pitch; both of which are attributes that Phillips possesses.
Gerrard is prepared to spend big in order to fill his midfield void at the end of the season, and it’s been outlined that Aston Villa would be prepared to shell out a club-record £60million fee to bring Phillips to Villa Park.
However, it’s anticipated that facilitating a deal for Phillips is likely to be complicated given Leeds’ desire to hang on to their midfield talisman.
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Although Villa would be prepared to break the bank in order to land Phillips, he isn’t the only midfielder on Gerrard’s radar. With Douglas Luiz’s long-term future also unclear, the club are also set to make another attempt to lure Brighton’s Yves Bissouma to the Midlands.
The Seagulls rejected a £25m bid from Villa for their midfield star in January, but they may be forced to cash in on the Mali ace in the summer given he’ll have just 12 months remaining on his current deal at the end of the season.
Bissouma has earned rave reviews after adapting to life in the Premier League seamlessly and has been linked with a string of the Premier League’s top four clubs. However, Villa are the ones who are ready to test Brighton’s resolve again by firming up their interest once the current campaign has concluded.
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