EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has revealed he is praying that Aston Villa have ended their hunt for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips after the Villans reportedly agreed a deal for Douglas Luiz.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road star and lifelong fan says that he is still worried about the future of the 23-year-old heading into the final four weeks of the transfer window, with a lot of interest from Premier League clubs over his capture.

As exclusively revealed by Football Insider in June, Aston Villa have seen an initial approach turned down by Leeds for Phillips, who is looking for a significantly improved contract in negotiations with the Whites.

BBC Sport report that Dean Smith’s side have agreed a deal to sign Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz for a fee of £15million – a price tag Whelan says is below the £20million Leeds are rating Phillips at.

The former Leeds man admits he is hopeful that Villa’s move for Douglas means they are out the running for Phillips, acknowledging there will be other clubs waiting in the wings.

Asked about Villa’s reported hunt, Wheland told Football Insider: “Is he going to be a player who is there instead of Kalvin? I hope so!

“I hope that is their second option, that they’re looking elsewhere rather than having Kalvin Phillips. There is a long, long transfer window to go, these worries aren’t just going to leave us now. If they are going to sign this player, they have got money to spend.

“It is £15million, which is probably £5million short of what Leeds United are asking for Kalvin so let’s hope it’s their second choice and we manage to stave off the interest from everybody else. There’s still Wolves rumbling on in the background and Bournemouth. Hopefully, we can do enough to keep Kalvin at the club.”

Aston Villa have made seven signings already this summer, securing deals for former loanees Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi alongside new arrivals Matt Targett, Wesley Moraes, Jota and Ezri Konsa.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has revealed his shock at one development at Elland Road which hints at behind-the-scenes trouble.