Aston Villa are reportedly ready to rekindle their interest in a potential club-record move for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, as contract negotiations at Elland Road have stalled.
Phillips is under contract with Leeds until 2024, meaning that come the summer the Yorkshire side will have to cash in on their asset or extend his deal in order to avoid losing him on the cheap in the year to come.
And, it was thought that he was close to signing a new deal with the club, with the player himself thought to be keen on staying at Elland Road beyond his current contract. However, that has been thrown up into the air, and the reliable John Percy of the Telegraph reports that talks have stalled over a new deal, perhaps hinging on whether Leeds remain a top flight club come the end of the season.
And Villa are willing to shell out a club record £60 million to get their man, it has been revealed. The report claims that 'Gerrard wants a player who will ‘screen’ in front of his back-four and move Villa up the pitch, and Phillips possesses all the qualities required.'
However, it will not be simple. In fact 'Villa’s move for Phillips will be complicated, with Leeds determined to keep the talismanic midfielder and their resolve likely to be emboldened by avoiding relegation to the Championship'.
Phillips returned to the Leeds side as a second-half substitute, after months on the sideline through injury, to a massive ovation at Elland Road as Southampton held Leeds to a 1-1 draw. His return will be a major boost to Jesse Marsch and his hopes of keeping Leeds in the top flight come the end of the season.
Bissouma the alternative
Another name mentioned by Percy is that of Yves Bissouma, who was seemingly set for a move to a bigger club than Aston Villa last summer, with Arsenal and Liverpool both sniffing around the Brighton man.
Such links have since gone cold, however, and while Villa had a £25 million bid turned down in January, the Mali midfielder will have just 12 months left on his Seagulls contract come the Summer, and is in all likelihood to depart for a cut-price fee.
Whether or not his fortunes will take him to Villa Park or elsewhere remains to be seen.