Guardiola tells Grealish to emulate Sterling with goal return
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is reportedly considering an approach to Leeds United regarding their coveted holding midfielder, Kalvin Phillips. The 25-year-old has enjoyed a rapid ascent to stardom since gaining promotion with Leeds, and Guardiola is thought to be an admirer of the silky passer as Fernandinho nears the end of his stint in Manchester.
By the end of the current campaign, Fernandinho will be both 37-years-old and out of contract.
Although he is still able to do a job when given the chance by Guardiola, he is unlikely to be rewarded with a new deal.
The Brazilian mastered the dark arts of defending and breaking down attacks, often cynically, and it provided a useful service for the Blues.
Rodri has been in place as his long-term heir since 2019, although he will need competition after Fernandinho’s departure, and the Spaniard is not free from criticism.
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His technical ability on the ball has barely ever been questioned, although the defensive side of his game lags behind his Brazilian counterpart.
Declan Rice was touted by many as the ideal replacement to anchor City’s midfield for the next few seasons.
As one of the hottest properties on the transfer market, however, a stubborn West Ham have slapped a £100million price-tag on his head which the likes of City are unlikely to fork out.
The Daily Mail claim that Phillips could be the perfect cheaper alternative, having caught the eye since stepping up to the Premier League with Leeds.
One such eye was that of England boss Gareth Southgate, and Phillips managed to establish himself as a pillar of the Three Lions’ midfield as they battled to the Euro 2020 final.
This past weekend, Marcelo Bielsa’s side fell to a disappointing 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool, marred by the horror injury suffered by youngster Harvey Elliott and the subsequent red card.
Phillips’ exceptional range of passing was still on show, however, something which Guardiola must surely be excited by as he seeks to perfect his own passing machine at the Etihad.
It would be a sizable step up for the Leeds academy graduate, given that City carry European and domestic expectations whenever they begin a season with Guardiola at the helm.
After falling to an opening-weekend defeat to Tottenham, the Blues have pieced together three successive victories to put themselves back in the mix.
Last time out, they managed a tough win at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, so normal service has resumed under the Spaniard’s watchful eye.
Fernandinho’s inevitable departure will be a break from normal service, however, and Phillips could be a worthy option to consider as his replacement.
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