Manchester United are interested in bringing Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips to Old Trafford next season, with a move for the midfielder in the works.
A handful of midfielders look set to leave Man United this summer upon the expiration of their contracts, with a new defensive midfielder a priority ahead of next season. the Manchester Evening News revealed that United are working on a deal for Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips, with the 26-year-old having been a long-term target for Ralf Rangnick’s side.
Phillips has been a standout player for Leeds since their promotion to the Premier League in 2020, with the midfielder becoming one of England’s key players during their run to the EURO 2020 final. United opted against signing a defensive midfielder last summer, but after a difficult season, that position has become a priority ahead of next season.
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Along with Phillips, a host of midfielders have been linked with a move to Old Trafford including Declan Rice, Youri Tielemans, Jude Bellingham and Ryan Gravenberch. The latter could potentially leave Ajax and follow his manager Erik ten Hag to United, with The Manchester Evening News reporting two weeks ago that Erik ten Hag was interviewed by United and now looks set to become the club’s manager next season.
So, if Philips was to make the move to United in the summer, what sort of impact could he have at Old Trafford? We simulated the 2022/23 season with Phillips in United’s squad and this is what happened.
We ‘signed’ Kalvin Phillips for Man United in the summer transfer windows
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Phillips to join United and Ten Hag to become United manager at the start of the 2022/23 season, using FM22 to run the simulation. This is what the 26-year-old’s in-game profile looks like on FM22.
Described by FM22 as a tireless midfielder, Phillips has a fantastic profile in-game, with his player traits summing up what’s needed at United. The midfielders traits are ‘dictates tempo’, ‘dives into tackles’, ‘tries long passes’ and ‘likes to switch ball to wide areas’, the perfect type of player for that defensive role at United.
The midfielder also boasts some highly-rated attributes, such as his natural fitness (18), stamina (18), work rate (18), aggression (16) and passing (16). So, how did he perform for United in his debut season at Old Trafford?
In his first season at the club, Phillips became one of United’s most important players, making 50 appearances across all competitions. 33 of those came in the league whilst 11 came in the Europa League, and across all competitions, the midfielder grabbed six goals and three assists. He also boasted some of the best passing stats in the league, highlighting Phillips’ quality and the influence of Ten Hag’s playing style.
Overall, the midfielder averaged a rating of 7.19 per game in all competitions, with his performances in the FA and Carabao Cup bringing that rating down. When compared to the rest of the United squad, Phillips had the fifth-best rating at the club, with Jadon Sancho taking the top spot.
Sancho averaged a rating of 7.43 in all competitions, with the winger managing an incredible 14 goals and 23 assists. Cristiano Ronaldo ended the season as the club’s top scorer with 20 goals, whilst summer signings Paulo Dybala and Antony ended as United’s fifth and sixth top goalscorers.
At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Manchester United XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics. This is what the United best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022.
Full United best XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Shaw; Fernandes, Phillips; Sancho, Dybala, Rashford; Ronaldo.
Fernandes was deployed in a deeper role to allow Dybala a spot in the best XI, alongside Phillips in the holding midfielder roles. Antony couldn’t make the best XI, whilst fellow summer signings Renan Lodi, Bryan Cristante and Kerem Akturkoglu all failed to also make the best XI.
So, how did United get on in the Premier League and cup competitions with Phillips in the squad? Let’s take a look.
Manchester United’s performance in all competitions
The Premier League title went down to the last day in our simulation, and United only finished six points off first place as they ended the season in fourth, claiming UEFA Champions League football for the following season.
Unfortunately for United, Ten Hag’s side lost two and drew one of their last three games, meaning they fell away from the title race at the very end of the season. Man City ended the season as Champions, whilst Liverpool and Chelsea finished in second and third respectively.
Despite falling extremely away from the title challenge, United were successful in the cup competitions. Out of the three cups, United reached the final in all three, winning two and losing one.
The loss came in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, where United were beaten 3-1 by the Blues. They did manage to beat Chelsea in the other domestic cup though, with two goals from Dybala and another from Antony handing Ten Hag’s side a 3-0 victory.
After two final appearances, the third and final one came in Europe, with United reaching the final of the Europa League against Borussia Dortmund. The clash was a tight affair, with a Fernandes second-half penalty the decisive goal as United won 1-0.
Overall, this Football Manager simulation predicts that if United were to sign Phillips ahead of the 2022/23 season, the midfielder could provide a vital addition to the United squad, with his defensive and technical prowess allowing Ten Hag’s side to be more fluid in attack . His addition of him, along with a few others, could see United challenge for the Premier League and potentially win a few other trophies.
Would you like to see Kalvin Phillips sign for Manchester United this summer? Let us know in the comments!
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