Pep Guardiola has wasted no time in replacing Fernandinho, who left the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season after nine years. Manchester City have completed the signing of Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United with the signing expected to be announced in the coming days.
Smart move, you must say. But if you are one of the club’s critics, you are surely going to frown at the amount spent on the 26-year-old midfielder. The boyhood Leeds United fan who also started his career and has played till date with the club, will be swapping Elland Road for Etihad Stadium for £45 million.
This is City’s second signing of the summer window so far, and their third of 2022. Erling Haaland was brought in for £51 million and Julian Alvarez was signed before him for £14 million in January, but remained on loan at River Plate until the end of the season.
That is over £100 million in one year and according to reports, more are on the way. Whatever you say, City are making astute signings and this is why they have stayed on top for so long.
We have established that Kalvin Phillips is on his way to City to be a like-for-like replacement for Fernandinho, but is that all he brings to the round table at the Etihad?
Competition for Rodri
Man City have the best holding midfielder in the Premier League in Rodri. The Spaniard is also highly rated in his home country because he is the next best thing in the role after Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets.
He effectively displaced Fernandinho when he was signed from Atlético de Madrid in the summer of the 2019/20 season, relegating the Brazilian to the backup role. Phillips is expected to come in as Rodri’s backup, but more than that, as his competition.
Options for different formations
Rodri and Phillips are both unplayable in their element, versatile and churn out almost similar numbers. This also gives Guardiola the option of using different setups to achieve his aim next season, which is sure to be a third consecutive Premier League title.
This would be a tough competition for the Englishman, however, but it is one that could see him improve greatly as a player which will, in turn, help the England national team ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
More English presence in the side
Man City are largely composed of foreign players and to the purist fans at the club, it is a worry. Raheem Sterling is on his way out and that leaves Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Jack Grealish as the only English players in the side.
Representation is needed at the club and Phillips is a more than capable addition to the team made up of foreign experts in their on-field roles. It is also testament to the fact that English players are getting better to be noticed by one of the best managers in the world, which should please City and England fans.