Southampton opinion: The Saints should sign Kalvin Phillips
The Sun (14/4 p61) has reported that Southampton are interested in making a move for Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips. While Southampton have spent a large portion of the season fighting against relegation, the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl has changed things.
The former RB Leipzig manager has injected a new style of play into the club, and they’ve benefitted from it. At the moment, they have an eight-point lead over the relegation zone, with both Fulham and Huddersfield Town mathematically been confirmed as relegated.
Only Cardiff City remain and the Bluebirds are still fighting tooth and nail to stay in the Premier League. While they might have a miniscule chance, Southampton remain safe at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that they will survive next season in the Premier League.
More than half their players have failed to impress, although a few have rediscovered their best under Hasenhuttl. The likes of James Ward-Prowse, Pierre-Emile Hojberg and even Angus Gunn have done very well for the club.
However, at the same time, the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu and even Charlie Austin have all struggled, with Romeu being the worst. The former Chelsea and Barcelona midfielder has played every game under Hasenhuttl but has failed to make an impression.
Despite that, since the club has no other option, the Spaniard has continued to play. This is where Kalvin Phillips has the ability and the talent to step in and take over from the struggling Champions League winner.
Just 23 years old, Philips has been an integral part of Leeds United’s team this season and has also played in a wide variety of positions. Yet, that has never been a problem, with the 23-year-old doing well wherever he’s been placed.
His main position, however, is as a defensive midfielder, which is where Phillips has flourished for Marcelo Bielsa. A consistent and reliable presence with the ball, the 23-year-old has averaged 52 passes a game at a passing accuracy of 81%.
He is defensively sound as well, averaging 2.5 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.6 clearances per game. That outdoes nearly every Southampton midfielder this season and reveals exactly where and how Kalvin Phillips can make a difference for the club.
He deserves a move to the Premier League after the season he has had with Leeds United and if the Whites do not get promoted, this is a move that the Saints have to make.
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Southampton’s business model has changed in recent years but the Saints still develop some of England’s best young players. However, at the moment, they need to concentrate on players who can make a difference for the club and Kalvin Phillips is one such player.
Phillips is at that stage in his career to move forward and this is a race that Southampton will regret not winning.