Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips

Leeds United may be pursuing Boubakary Soumare as a replacement for Kalvin Phillips rather than as a partner.

That is according to ex-Premier League goalscorer Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively after Football Insider revealed Leeds are keeping tabs on the 21-year-old Lille midfielder.

Soumare, who plays in a similar position to the Leeds talisman, is also attracting interest from the likes of Leicester City, AC Milan and Manchester City, as per the Guardian.

Phillips is widely regarded as the jewel in Leeds’ crown and has been pivotal to their success in the first Premier League campaign in 16 years.

But the pursuit of four-time French Under-21 midfielder Soumare could signify the club are preparing for the possibility he could be sold.

His pundit namesake asked Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Is this a preparation for Phillips moving on somewhere, is someone coming in for him with a big move?

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“This might be one of those areas that they’re looking at just in case. It’s sensible to do that. It’s not gonna cost the earth.

“He’s a technical player. He’s a French Under-21 and they’re always technically fantastic. He’d fit into that Leeds side because technically the whole team looks very good.”

Phillips is currently out of action, suffering from a combination of fitness issues and a recent bereavement.

Leeds players paid a touching tribute to the midfielder’s grandmother Val Crosby, affectionately dubbed Granny Val, after beating Southampton 3-0 on Tuesday.

In other news, a top pundit has tipped Leeds United youngster Pascal Struijk to have a magnificent career amid interest from on the continent.