Leeds United face a tough window this summer as the club fight to fend off interest in Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha. The Whites have been heavily focused on incomings and have already spent £45million on three major signings – Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen and Marc Roca – but their biggest task of the window remains keeping hold of their two prized assets as the European elite circle.
Manchester City are confident they can secure the signature of Phillips, who they see as the successor to Fernandihno and a key addition to the English core of the side. Raphinha’s situation is a little more complex, with long-time links to Barcelona going quiet amid a surprise approach from Arsenal – Tottenham and Chelsea are also keen.
Leeds are yet to receive any official bids or approaches for either player, and are holding firm in their valuations of around £50-60million for each, but the allure of a big-money contract and the chance at competing on the European stage could be too tempting for either player to turn down. Those in charge at Elland Road cannot crumble to pressure, however, and must take advantage of such demand by extracting every pound form a deal, according to former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan.
“Given they escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, clearly they need to improve.” Jordan said on TalkSPORT . “We know they’ve been disadvantaged with some key players being out for much of the season, but so did other clubs. I’d like to hear if we were speaking to Leeds United that these players (Phillips and Raphinha) were not for sale full stop, rather than ‘we’re focusing on incoming transfers’, because that’s a way of circumventing the fact at this moment in time we haven’t got transfers but when we do we’ll sell them.
“If Leeds United are going to sell these players to clubs like Man City – who aren’t bigger clubs but bigger in their achievements – then these players are going to want to go there. What you want to achieve is the maximum amount of money ‘You want our best players, the players that we have cultivated and developed? You’ve got to pay the top money’, so that Leeds United can kick on, regain their poise and regain their development back to the big club that their height and size details they could and should be.”
Valuations of either player have ranged from £40-70million – or a low as £35million if you’re Barcelona – but the Whites look to remain stubborn in their demands. Arsenal’s approach for Brazilian winger Raphinha is said to land around the £50million mark, and asked if Leeds should take the money? Jordan suggested they should be pushing for more.
“Not enough, not enough for Leeds. He’s a good player, an integral part of Leeds, he’s a very very talented footballer from the same genre as Riyad Mahrez.” He added: “If Leeds are going to be forced into a situation where they sell him because Arsenal are currently doing better, they’ve got to pay top, top money. That’s what Leeds have to do and what Radrizzani has to achieve.
“For Raphinha, as much as I can get. If they offer me £50million, I want £70million, if they offer me £70million, I want £80million – I’d want them to work as hard as they can and sweat the asset and make sure they get nothing from me that was vaguely resembling what they thought was a deal.
“They don’t want to sell these players, so it’s incumbent on them who buy them to do the hard yards. It’s not Leeds’ job to do the hard yards, they can say ‘we don’t want to sell the players.’ We’re focusing on incomings’, and incomings they need.They don’t just need to keep Phillips and Raphinha, they need to keep Raphinha and Philips in an ideal world and supplement and build and support the manager – who I’m not entirely sure is the right one but he saved them so gets a shout.”