Manchester United are already planning for the Erik Ten Hag era with an explosive first signing under the Dutchman.
The Red Devils have identified that the midfield is the problem area in the team, stemming from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggles as manager – and with Ten Hag thought to be arriving in the coming days, one player has been touted to fix the issue.
But it won’t be a popular one with rival fans. According to the Manchester Evening News(opens in new tab), Kalvin Phillips has been identified as the perfect no.6 to sort United’s woes.
Phillips excelled at Leeds United as a lone pivot in a 4-1-4-1 formation under the legendary Marcelo Bielsa, proving to have the passing ability, the positional discipline and a penchant for dropping between the centre-backs to help with build-up. All of these things are staples of Ten Hag’s 4-3-3 at Ajax with the 52-year-old placing an emphasis on his defensive midfielder dictating play.
But Phillips moving to Old Trafford would cause a stir. Leeds have a frosty relationship with their cross-Pennines rivals, with plenty of players to have swapped Elland Road for the Rainy City labelled as traitors over the years. The likes of Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand are still regarded with disdain by many Peacocks fans.
Manchester United would be expected to pay handsomely for Phillips’ services as an established international and member of England’s Euro 2020 final-making squad last summer. The midfielder has suffered with injuries this season but recently made his return to Jesse Marsche’s plans.
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