Kalvin Phillips is wanted by Man United, West Ham, Newcastle and Aston Villa and Raphinha by Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool and Jesse Marsch has reacted to that interest
Jesse Marsch claims he can play a role in trying to keep Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips at Leeds.
Leeds face a fight to hang to both this summer and Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool have shown an interest in Brazil winger Raphinha. West Ham failed with a £55million offer for Phillips in January and they remain keen on the England midfielder.
Big-spending Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester United are also monitoring Phillips’ situation. Leeds want to tie down both stars on new long-term deals and Marsch has offered to be part of that process. The Leeds boss sees both players, along with Patrick Bamford, as key to his plans to take the club forward.
“I haven’t spend any time with anyone talking about their long-term future, only about living in the moment and what’s important for every day,” said the Leeds boss. “Those conversations can be had down the road once we can establish a few more things.
“Those conversations are more for the club, but I can always help and, of course, I would love to keep guys like Kalvin and Patrick Bamford and Raphinha, I would love to keep those guys here as long as possible.”
Phillips, 26, will make his first appearance since December 5 at Wolves on Friday after recovering from hamstring surgery and Marsch has explained his new role to him. Phillips played as the single midfield pivot in Marcelo Bielsa’s favoured 4-1-4-1 formation and Marsch wants to use more like England do in a holding pair.
“We’ve had a good conversation and he said it’s not that dissimilar from what they do with the national team,” he said. “He plays a lot in there with Declan Rice and they share a lot of responsibilities as a double six.
Against the ball, they try to do similar things with pressing, they talk about counter-pressing. “It’s not exactly the same, but there are similarities and Kalvin is an intelligent guy, he will be able to adjust relatively quickly.”
Phillips is part of Marsch’s seven-player leadership council and he wants him to be more of a leader for Leeds. He knows he is key to the identity of the team because he is Leeds born and bred and wants more to be more vocal.
“I think Kalvin, as good as he is, has room to grow as a leader,” said the American. “That will certainly be the goal. I think he is a leader by his presence in the group and I think he can be a bigger voice in the group. He’s clearly so well respected and liked in the team, he is Leeds through and through.
“The identity of the team at this moment, Kalvin is a big part of that. There are a lot of guys who are and who are fully committed to what it means to be part of Leeds United.”
Captain Liam Cooper will also return at Wolves after being out since December 5 with a hamstring injury and Marsch is delighted to have them and Patrick Bamford fit. “Even when I first came I knew getting the three main guys back to full health would really dictate our success,” he said.
“We have a good group, but you need your best players on the pitch, so yeah. We always had a goal of can we get those three guys really top fit and sharp after the FIFA break? With Pat, we were a little ahead of schedule. With Liam and Kalvin we’re about on schedule, but we have a lot more work to do and if we can continue to manage that right, it will only help us.”