Kalvin Phillips’ move from Leeds to Man City has been branded a nightmare, while the size of the transfer fee has also raised some eyebrows.
The Premier League champions managed to snap up the highly-rated midfielder for £45million, despite fellow England midfielder Declan Rice being valued at around £150m by West Ham.
David Moyes has revealed the Hammers bid more than £45m in January, while ex-assistant Stuart Pearce told talkSPORT a similar deal for Rice would be a ‘waste of time’.
The Elland Road club’s fans have long been braced for Phillips’ exit, despite dreams the boyhood Whites fan would remain at the club.
Having come through the academy and gone all the way to the top, helping the club to finally return to the Premier League in 2020, before gaining England honors, supporters are seriously proud of the homegrown talent.
But the news of Phillips’ switch to Man City was always on the cards and now they will back the midfielder on his quest to become one of the elite players in his position under Pep Guardiola.
One person who has witnessed his rise first-hand, former Leeds Women star Lucy Ward, admits she can only be happy for the player and believes he can take that next step at the Etihad Stadium.
Asked if the transfer was inevitable, Ward said: “Yeah. Kalvin came to me when I was working at the academy and came to us as an Under-15.
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“I know him really well and know his family really well and he deserves a move to a team who are going to compete for the Champions League so I’m absolutely chuffed to bits for him and his family.
“As far as Leeds are concerned, it’s a nightmare, but one that all of the fans were expecting.
“He’s done incredibly well. Marcelo Bielsa obviously took him that step further in terms of the position that he played and I think that Pep Guardiola will take him further again with the way that he plays in that system. He’s the sort of player that Man City will benefit from.
“You’ve obviously got Rodri playing there, but Kalvin is a good, young England player. He’s obviously not as young as he used to be, but it’s a great move for him.”
“I think that it will have been a difficult decision, but it’s come at the right time for him.
“Bielsa went and it was Bielsa who got him to where he wanted to be. He’d also been injured a little bit.
“For England he’d want to be playing at the highest level he can be.
“Leeds struggled to stay up and we don’t know if they’ll struggle again and how they’ll recruit, but I think it’s the natural step up for him.
“It’ll be sad for him. You could see at the end of the season that he was sad to leave because at Elland Road he said goodbye to everyone and had his family there, so you knew he wasn’t going to come back this next season.
“It’s a big step up for him but he’s confident in his ability to be able to do it.”
And while it may have been on the cards, the money involved has surprised some, including former Premier League star Tony Cascarino.
He told the Weekend Sports Breakfast: “I thought it was quite cheap.
“Now, he’s had an injury-plagued season. If you go back to last summer, I think someone would have, quite openly, paid £60m plus for him but he’s been injured for most of the season.
“But they’re getting a really quality [player]you can trust Kalvin Phillips to do a great job for you and I think that’s the big thing.
“If you were to say Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, who played in the England midfield last summer in the Euros and did brilliantly. One club, West Ham, is talking £150m and he’s just gone for £42m.
“I do think there is a bit more in Declan Rice. I think he’s a player who can play in more than one position and is a little bit quicker than Kalvin Phillips, but there is not a great deal between them – do I think there is over £100m of difference between them? No I don’t.”
Ward added: “I can’t understand how Leeds have not got more money for him.
“I’d have probably added another £10m and I’m sure that Leeds could have held out and I heard whispers a few weeks back that it was all sorted so I knew that he was going.
“He deserves it, but I think that Leeds needs to benefit from the money and obviously, the more money the better.”
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