Manchester City have completed the signing of Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United, but is he the final piece in the puzzle for Pep Guardiola's side?
Original article published 4 July 2022
England international Phillips completed his move to the Etihad Stadium on Monday, putting pen to paper on a bumper six-year contract, with City reportedly paying £45m to secure his services.
Phillips is City's third signing of the summer following on from Erling Haaland's high-profile move from Borussia Dortmund and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega Moreno swapping Arminia Bielefeld for Manchester.
The question is will Phillips prove a success at City and will there be any further new arrivals at the reigning Premier League champions this summer?
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It appears Phillips has been brought in as a direct replacement for long-serving midfielder Fernandinho, who opted to move on from City after a trophy-laden nine-year spell with the club at the end of last season.
At 26, Phillips is 11 years younger than the Brazilian and he is a player that should be about to enter his peak years.
The combative midfielder has spent his entire career to date with Leeds, amassing 235 appearances for his hometown club and playing a key role in their promotion back to the Premier League in 2020 after a 16-year absence.
Phillips shone under former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa - someone Guardiola holds in high regard - and after helping the Whites to a top-half finish during the 2020/21 campaign, he was included in England's squad for Euro 2020, featuring in every match as the Three Lions made it all the way to the final.
On paper, the signing of Phillips certainly looks a shrewd one for City, although there will be one or two concerns, particularly regarding his fitness.
During the 2021/22 season, Phillips featured in just 20 Premier League matches for Leeds, 18 of which were starts, with a long-term hamstring injury being the main reason for his absence.
Calf and shoulder injuries also kept the midfielder sidelined for spells during the 2020/21 campaign, while he has only once started more than 40 matches in a league season, that coming in the Championship over three years ago.
This may not be too much of a concern for City, as unlike Leeds, they will not be overly reliant on Phillips, with Rodri likely to be the first-choice - at least at the start of the season - in their defensive midfield pivot.
Phillips' fitness concerns may also be one of the reasons City were able to land him for just £45m, with similar players such as Declan Rice, who boasts a better injury record, having been valued at potentially double that amount.
Man City have been crowned Premier League champions for two seasons in a row and they are priced at 4/7 to make it a hat-trick of titles during the upcoming campaign.
The addition of Phillips certainly appears to enhance those chances, as he will be able to lessen the workload of Rodri, who was a near ever present for City last season, with Fernandinho's game-time having been restricted.
While Phillips will bolster the squad and should prove an asset, it is of course the signing of Haaland that is getting everyone excited.
City did not have a recognised centre forward last year after opting not to directly replace Sergio Aguero, but Norway international Haaland now joins having averaged nearly a goal a game in 89 appearances for Dortmund.
Haaland won't turn 22 until later this month, which means he has plenty of scope to get even better. The former Salzburg star is priced at 7/2 to top the Premier League scoring charts during 2022/23.
The Citizens have been tipped to make further additions to their squad, with Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella and Barcelona star Gavi among those to be linked, but even if Phillips is the last new player through the door this summer, City still look to be the team to beat.
Leeds clung on to their Premier League status by the skin of their teeth last season and the early signs are Jesse Marsch's side could be in for another tough campaign.
The departure of midfield linchpin Phillips is undoubtedly a blow, while last season's leading scorer Raphinha is expected to join him in heading for the Elland Road exit door.
The loss of arguably their two best players, both of whom have played integral roles since Leeds returned to the Premier League, will undoubtedly be difficult voids to fill, especially as they have one of the smallest squads in the top flight.
The Whites have already brought in attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson, right back Rasmus Kristensen and defensive midfielder Marc Roca, but there is a risk to all of those signings given none have previous experience of English football.
Further new recruits are surely going to be needed if Leeds are to keep their heads above water this season. The Whites are priced at 5/2 to be relegated come the end of the campaign.