Solskjaer previews Man Utd's clash with Villarreal
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Manchester United are prioritising a move for Leeds star Kalvin Phillips instead of West Ham’s Declan Rice, according to reports. However, any deal or the England international won’t be straightforward. And that’s because of his current stance on a move to Old Trafford.
Manchester United have made many signings since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge.
Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrived during his first transfer window at the helm, with Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo touching down a few months later.
Last summer, United forked out on Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Amad and Facundo Pellistri – as well as bringing in Edinson Cavani on a free transfer.
And then, earlier this year, the Red Devils brought in Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, they’re yet to sign a defensive-midfielder.
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And there’s a sense that Solskjaer truly needs one, with the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic battling for consistency.
Now, United are eyeing Phillips.
But signing the midfielder from Leeds will be tricky, with the Daily Star saying he’s ‘reluctant to leave his hometown club’ at the current moment in time.
Leeds, for their part, are in no mood to sell.
And it’s stated by the publication that they’re hoping to give Phillips a new contract, even if owner Andrea Radrizzani knows a lucrative move to a bigger club could appeal to Phillips in the not too distant future.
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Another factor to consider is Marcelo Bielsa, too.
Phillips loves playing under the Leeds boss but fears he may leave the club at the end of the campaign.
And, if he does, that could work in United’s favour.
They’ve previously raided Leeds twice over the past two decades, landing Eric Cantona and Alan Smith from their fierce rivals.
But Phillips moving to Old Trafford would be a particularly low blow for the Elland Road faithful, who would loathe to lose such a vital asset.
Speaking earlier in the year, meanwhile, Leeds striker Patrick Bamford said his team-mate’s family ‘hated’ United.
“Kalvin’s one of them [who know what the game means],” he said on Instagram.
“He hasn’t played it up as much this time, but definitely the first time around we played them, he’s like ‘this is a massive game.’
“He’s tried to tone it down a little bit, but the fact it’s at Elland Road makes it better. A shame the fans aren’t there.”
He added: “This week he hasn’t said much.
“He’ll probably talk more the day before the game, but being from Leeds it’s massive for him as well.
“All his family hate United and they’re probably rooting for him and they’re probably telling him to say ‘make sure you tell the lads how big and crucial this game is.’
“One of them where the rest of the season, while being important, this game is the main focus.”
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