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Southampton Opinion: Saints should sign Kalvin Phillips in the summer

According to the Sun on Sunday, as cited by HITC, Southampton have lined up Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips as a potential target in the summer.

The same report claims that Leeds are likely to demand a fee of around £20 million for their homegrown talent, though a deal might be completely off the table if they manage to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Phillips has been one of the key cogs in Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team in the Championship this season, making a total of 39 appearances in the league. The 23-year-old has been instrumental in the Whites’ surge to the automatic promotion places, impressing with his consistent run of form at both defensive midfield and centre-back.

Meanwhile, Jack Harrison’s winner against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday helped Leeds maintain a three-point gap over fellow automatic promotion chasers Sheffield United, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Millwall.

Three points clear of the Blades and with just four games to go, one would expect Leeds to finally end their 15-year-long absence from the Premier League.

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In all honesty, Southampton’s chances of landing Kalvin Phillips in the summer look quite slim at this point of time. Phillips has been an integral part of Leeds’ promotion surge and the Whites are unlikely to let go of their prized asset irrespective of how much the Saints would be willing to pay for his services.

As for the player, he would be playing in the Premier League anyway, so a move to the St.Mary’s would just be a step sideways in his career. However, the Saints can bag a massive coup if they do manage to get their hands on the Championship star this summer.

Southampton continued their resurgence under Ralph Hasenhuttl and moved 8 points clear of the drop zone with a well-earned 3-1 victory over Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Saints have shown plenty of character and resilience under the Austrian and a few new recruits in the summer would enhance their chances of challenging for a top-ten finish next season.

Central midfielders Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have enjoyed a pretty decent campaign this time around, while Mario Lemina has been forced out of action since the turn of the year following a promising start to the season.

James Ward-Prowse has flourished in a more advanced role but the Saints can certainly do with another defensive midfielder to challenge Romeu and Lemina for a spot in the first-team. And Kalvin Phillips certainly fits the bill.

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Phillips’ versatility to play in defensive midfield and at centre-back would be a massive boost to Southampton’s squad depth and team dynamics.

Strong in the air and quick across the ground, the 23-year-old is known as a tough-tackling and all-action midfielder who excels with his ability to break up the play and cut out the attacks with crucial tackles and interceptions.

He has a good understanding of the game and retains possession really well, often using his range of passing to switch the play and dictate the tempo of the game.

The youngster boasts of a pass success percentage of 81.8, including 4.6 successful long balls, 2.5 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 2.6 clearances and 2.6 aerial duels per game in the Championship this season, figures which are quite incredible given that he has played multiple roles for his team.

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Phillips is only going to get better with time and he has shown that he has the quality, physicality and the temperament to make the step up to the Premier League. Southampton might have to pay over the odds to strike a deal for him but it would certainly be an investment worth it.

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