Noel Whelan has suggested Aston Villa are about to bid £20million for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker claims “there’s no smoke without fire” as rumours of a massive offer coming in from the Premier League club intensify.
Football Insider revealed last week that Leeds have knocked back an approach already for Phillips from Villa, but they will not be put off and they are set to return to the negotiating with a formal bid.
Whelan is concerned that the financial resources of the Midlands giants following their successful promotion could force cash-strapped Leeds into a sale.
“I’m hearing rumours of a £20million bid from Aston Villa happening,” Whelan said. “At the moment, that’s hearsay, but there’s no smoke without fire and there’s no doubt Villa want Phillips.
“There is that interest still there and that doesn’t surprise me because Kalvin Phillips is an excellent player and a specialist midfield anchorman who plays the role really well.
“Do we need another sale to bring in more players? Probably. But I don’t want him to go because he is integral to the team and getting promotion next season.
“It would be a real shame to lose him, and for him to miss out on another year working with Marcelo Bielsa. If he does leave, who is going to replace him and fit into his position?”
Phillips took his game to a new level last season under Bielsa as he was transformed from an inconsistent central midfielder into one of the best outside of the Premier League.
He was named in the official Football League team of the year and has not only attracted interest from Villa, but Wolves and Bournemouth are also closely monitoring his situation.