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Manchester United 'make Kalvin Phillips top summer target'

Man United 'make Kalvin Phillips top summer target'
© Reuters
Manchester United supposedly weigh up a shock summer swoop for Manchester City outcast Kalvin Phillips, who is their number one midfield target.

Manchester United have supposedly identified Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips as their number one transfer target for 2024 and could make an audacious swoop for the ex-Leeds United man.

Under Marcelo Bielsa's wing at Elland Road, Phillips was an integral cog in the Leeds team which achieved promotion to the Premier League and consolidated themselves in the top flight.

The England international helped Leeds stay up for two seasons before being poached by champions Manchester City, but he has failed to make waves since being hired by Pep Guardiola.

A shoulder injury during the earliest months of his City career did not help his cause, but even when fit, Phillips has played second fiddle to Rodri, John Stones, Manuel Akanji and sometimes Rico Lewis in the holding midfield position.

Following Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes's arrivals over the summer as well, Phillips's future has been one of the major talking points ahead of the January window, during which he is expected to seek an exit route from the Etihad after Guardiola admitted that he will 'struggle' to find a place for him in his plans.

England's Kalvin Phillips celebrates after the match on October 13, 2023© Reuters

All of Juventus, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur are believed to be serious contenders for Phillips's signature in January, but the former may be forced to seek out alternative options, as the 28-year-old's salary could prove problematic.

Now, The Sun claims that Man United have emerged as surprise contenders to poach Phillips from their city rivals and have gone as far as to make the England international their leading target for the summer 2024 window.

The Red Devils are expected to be on the lookout for successors to Casemiro next summer, as the ex-Real Madrid man - who is currently out injured - could be allowed to depart following a decline in performance levels.

It remains to be seen if Sofyan Amrabat's loan deal from Fiorentina will be made permanent too, while outcast Donny van de Beek will try to leave the club at the earliest opportunity next year.

Despite Phillips's lack of action at Man City, Man Unite head coach Erik ten Hag is believed to be a huge fan of the Englishman and believes that he would fit seamlessly into his system at Old Trafford.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag on December 6, 2023© Reuters

Guardiola and City chiefs would not be expected to block Phillips from leaving in the summer, even if the former Leeds man does jump ship to one of their biggest adversaries, as the club simply want the situation to be resolved as soon as possible.

New investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe could also end up being a driving force in Phillips's potential switch to Old Trafford, as the Ineos chief - whose 25% purchase should be announced by the end of the year - is keen to focus on recruiting and developing home-grown talent.

Phillips - who is under contract at the Etihad until 2028 - is without a goal or assist in 29 appearances for Guardiola's side, and he has played just eight times in the current campaign.

The 28-year-old's eight appearances in the 2023-24 season have seen him rack up just 215 minutes, and his only start of the campaign so far came in an EFL Cup loss to Newcastle United.

Phillips remains a stalwart of Gareth Southgate's England squad, but the midfielder's chances of playing at Euro 2024 could be in jeopardy if his situation does not improve in the second half of the campaign.

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Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips during the warm up before the match on October 29, 2023
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