Leeds United view Jack Grealish’s transfer as a warning sign as they look to keep Kalvin Phillips at Elland Road, according to Leeds’ chief executive Angus Kinnear.
Grealish made Premier League history when he joined Manchester City last week for a record-breaking fee, Aston Villa unable to keep their captain with a release clause triggered by the reigning champions.
But Leeds remain adamant they will not suffer a similar fate with their key asset Phillips, who impressed in his debut Premier League campaign and subsequently for England at Euro 2020.
“The lure of Champions League and playing for a team that’s going to win trophies turned the player’s [Jack Grealish] head,” Kinnear told the Square Ball podcast.
“I know Aston Villa didn’t have to sell him, even at that value, and they wanted to keep him, but when the player wants to go, you have a problem.
“Our job is making sure all the players feel wanted and valued and they can grow at Leeds United. Kalvin is a long-term pillar for the club. We’ll work with him and his representatives to make sure he feels valued and motivated and wants to be at Leeds United.”
Phillips starred for Leeds on their return to the Premier League, ranking fifth at the club for duels won and fourth for recoveries last term, while his 1189 passes also placed him fifth – despite missing nine top-flight fixtures.
However, it was at Euro 2020 where he hit the headlines, partnering with Declan Rice in midfield to form a remarkable pairing as England reached their first major final in 55 years.
The 25-year-old recovered possession a team-high 45 times, while only three England players completed more than his 293 successful passes.
Phillips was the subject of transfer interest from Grealish’s former club in 2019, prompting him to sign a new five-year deal, but Kinnear insisted Leeds will not be rushed into offering further improved terms.
“At the moment he’s got three years on his contract,” the chief executive said. “It’s a healthy contract and we don’t need to rush into any of these things. But we defend interest in our players very vigorously in the market place.
“This summer we’ve received a number of firm expressions of interest and some offers for players that would be perceived as our marquee talent.
“None of them have been entertained, no discussions or negotiations have taken place.”