Date: 11th July 2019 at 7:00am
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EXCLUSIVE

Darren Bent has drooled over “brilliant” Kalvin Phillips and urged Aston Villa to secure what would be a “perfect signing” for them this summer.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Villa striker believes the central midfielder, 23, has the ability to make a major impact in the Premier League for the newly-promoted club.

Football Insider broke the news on Monday afternoon that Phillips had knocked back Leeds’ opening contract offer following initial talks over a new deal.

This has opened the door for the player’s Premier League suitors, including Villa, who have already made an approach for Phillips this summer and are expected to follow up with a major bid well in excess of £10million.

“I’d love to see him at Villa,” Bent told Football Insider. “The perfect, ideal replacement for Glenn Whelan. He gets around the pitch, good on the ball, takes free kicks and honestly I couldn’t speak highly enough of him.

“I watched him a lot last season and done quite a lot of games and every game he impressed me. I thought in the playoffs, second leg against Derby, he was probably the best player on the pitch.

“He set up the first goal, put tackles in, and I saw at times even when he played centre half he didn’t look out of place as well, he was brilliant so for me, perfect signing. He’s going to cost them a fair bit though.

“Are Leeds going to go and sell Jack Clarke and Kalvin Phillips, their two best youngsters? I’m not quite sure, but if I was Aston Villa I’d be doing everything I could to try and get him.”

Phillips was transformed into a midfield anchorman by Marcelo Bielsa when he took the reins last summer and had the best season of his career as he was named in the official Football League team of the season.

Villa have already spent big this summer and are on the verge of their seventh summer signing as they finalise the capture of Brentford defender Ezri Konsa for an eight-figure fee.

In the latest Leeds United, Football Insider has learned how Kalvin Phillips has reacted to the club’s opening contract offer.