A report from Leeds Live has suggested the replacement Marcelo Bielsa had lined up for Kalvin Phillips, had the club sold the midfield dynamo last summer.
Plenty of Premier League teams were interested in Leeds’ key man last summer. As reported by The Sun, Leeds slapped a £30 million price-tag on Phillips as the likes of Aston Villa and Sheffield United came lurking. But the club eventually decided to keep hold of him and Phillips has since been one of the star players as Leeds again battle for promotion from the Championship.
But according to Leeds Live, when the idea of selling Phillips was put to Bielsa last summer by director of football Victor Orta he was happy to discuss the idea.
In fact, he reportedly went away, watched some Leeds under-23 games, and decided he had a potential internal replacement.
That player was Alfie McCalmont. Bielsa felt the Northern Irish youngster had all the capabilities needed to fulfill the role set to be left aside if Phillips was indeed sold.
The 20-year-old has since gone on to make his first-team debut for Leeds and earn a first senior cap with Northern Ireland this season, although Bielsa has not called him up to a Leeds matchday squad since January.
Bielsa’s fondness for McCalmont is, however, clear and perhaps the youngster could start to play a more pivotal role in the first-team once again in the weeks and months to come.
If so, then he might save Leeds millions should the club ever lose their midfield lynchpin.