EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has sent the simple two-word message of ‘ask Marcelo’ to Andrea Radrizzani on how he must respond to incoming bids for Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker believes the final decision on whether to cash in on the central midfielder must fall to Marcelo Bielsa.

The Leeds manager’s own future is likely to be determined in the coming days after club owner Radrizzani revealed on national radio on Thursday that a final decision is set to be announced imminently following extensive talks.

It is also crunch time with regards to the situations of star players, including Phillips, who is attracting widespread Premier League interest, with Norwich City joining Bournemouth and Southampton in the race to sign him and preparing to submit bids.

Asked what his message would be to Radrizzani if a £12million bid arrives for Phillips, Whelan told Football Insider: “‘Ask Marcelo’. Simple as that. Ask Mr Bielsa if he can get promotion without him. It depends how key Marcelo thinks he is to the team.

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“Kalvin is not only a very good player, but a very good professional and a Leeds lad who loves the team. If we lost him it would be a massive blow, it would be huge.

“He plays a specialist role as the midfield anchorman, not many players can play it well. We can see the player he will be in the future, and it would be really damaging if we let him go.

“We would have to pay a lot of money to adequately replace him, and I’m hoping he will give it one more season of playing regularly in a team high up in a competitive league.”

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the future of a key Whites player is massively in doubt after a “falling-out” with Bielsa behind the scenes.