Leeds United have made a new defensive midfielder one of their top priorities this summer, Football Insider understands.
The Yorkshire giants have suffered when Kalvin Phillips has been absent this season and that was apparent once again in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that director of football Victor Orta is compiling a shortlist of midfield anchormen targets with the pedigree to provide cover and competition for Phillips.
It has been identified as a key position for squad improvement by manager Marcelo Bielsa even though he has consistently said he is content with his Phillips alternatives.
Centre-back Robin Koch filled in for Phillips against Brighton but struggled to protect the defence and win the ball as expertly as the missing man.
The England international’s value has been especially evident when he has not played.
He has started 25 of Leeds’ 34 Premier League matches, with Koch, Pascal Struijk and Mateusz Klich among those who have struggled to fill his boots when he has been missing.
Leeds will have money to spend this summer after an impressive first season back in the Premier League.
Despite suffering the financial effects of a season without crowds and posting a mammoth pre-tax loss of £62.4m in their recently-published accounts, chairman Andrea Radrizzani will back another major recruitment drive.
The value of another season in the top flight is at least £100m from TV windfalls as well as massive commercial and merchandising top-ups.