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Manchester City transfer news: Pep Guardiola targets Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips

Kalvin Phillips
(Image credit: PA)

Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips has emerged as a target for Manchester City as they prepare for life without veteran midfielder Fernandinho.

According to Fichajes, Pep Guardiola has been impressed by Phillips’ transformation under Marcelo Bielsa and believes that the England international would strengthen his squad in a key position.

The holding midfield role, which requires great energy, intelligence, and positional awareness, has typically been occupied by Fernandinho since his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.

He has gone on to make more than 350 appearances for Man City in all competitions over the last eight years, contributing to a period of great success for the club.

But the 36-year-old’s contract is coming to an end next summer and Guardiola is looking for someone younger to provide competition for Rodri at the base of City’s midfield.

He has watched Phillips’ development intently and is confident that he can meet the high standards demanded by the Premier League champions both on and off the ball.

The midfielder has improved remarkably since Bielsa took over at Elland Road in June 2018, adding more facets to his game and adapting to his new role with ease.

Accustomed to playing further up the field under previous managers, his physicality, confidence on the ball and reading of the game saw him retrained as a holding midfielder.

Phillips has thrived there, earning the nickname of ‘the Yorkshire Pirlo' and breaking into the England set-up over the past year.

He won the first of his 17 caps against Denmark in the Nations League last September and soon became a lynchpin of the side that reached the final of Euro 2020.

Intelligent and industrious, Phillips has been linked with moves to bigger clubs over the past couple of years but has remained loyal to Leeds having come through their academy system.