West Ham United are still in a race to sign Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
What’s the word?
According to The Sun, the Irons are joined by Arsenal, Aston Villa and Manchester City in keeping tabs on the 26-year-old midfielder, who could also sign a new deal to remain at Elland Road next season.
Leeds had been resigned to losing Phillips had they been relegated to the Championship according to the same report, but feel more optimistic that he will stay for next season, though it is equally possible that the England international could move on.
Imagine him and Rice
The signing of Phillips, who has been dubbed the “Yorkshire Pirlo” by Leeds and England fans, would be a major boost for David Moyes’ side, especially with the very real prospect of Tomáš Souček departing the London Stadium this summer.
He would be an incredibly exciting addition for the Europa Conference League side and would be likely to adapt seamlessly to playing with Declan Rice in a midfield duo under Moyes, because the pair have regularly partnered each other for England, especially at Euro 2020.
The England men’s player of the year for 2021 would give Moyes’ side an incredibly strong midfield partnership, with Phillips ranking in the top two per cent for pressures from midfielders across the top five European leagues this season, according to FBref.
He also ranks in the top three per cent for tackles according to the same stats provider, winning a total of 43 challenges this season. It’s no wonder Steve McClaren dubbed him a “destroyer” in the heart of the pitch.
The England midfield partnership would also be able to offer an offensive threat with Phillips having an average rate of 1.30 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes this season, whilst Rice has a rate of 1.67 per 90 when compared on FBref, suggesting that whilst the duo in the middle of the park are more than capable of holding the fort, they will also offer something creatively for the Irons next season.
The £45m-rated man has been exceptional when fit for Leeds this season, with his importance to the team having been demonstrated in his absence, with the Elland Road club only having won four Premier League matches during a 15-game spell where he was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
With a very real prospect of Souček leaving the Hammers for pastures new this season, Moyes will be desperate for funds to be made available for a top-class replacement.
In Phillips, West Ham would arguably be improving their options in the middle of the park, with the England midfield partnership a scary prospect for any other Premier League opposition.