Paper Talk: Gerrard sets out dream Kalvin Phillips plan as ‘phenomenal’ Villa backed for Leeds raid; Major Leicester sale call

Aston Villa are out to prise Kalvin Phillips away from Leeds United in a record deal, while Leicester consider a major sale – both in all the latest Paper Talk.

GERRARD, VILLA EYE KALVIN PHILLIPS

Aston Villa are ready to make a club-record £60million raid on Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips this summer, according to a report.

Phillips has emerged as one of the standout players at Leeds alongside Raphinha following his recent rise. The 26-year-old has also become an England star and was named the country’s men’s player of the year for 2020/21.

The midfielder has faced major injury struggles this season but returned to impressive effect on Saturday.

Indeed, Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch admitted he saw everything he expects from Phillips in his first appearance since December – albeit from the bench – against Southampton.

However, his fine performances have also seen him attract significant transfer attention. Aston Villa tried to sign Phillips in 2019 upon their return to the Premier League and he has remained a key target.

Indeed, boss Steven Gerrard has the same admiration for the midfielder as his predecessor Dean Smith did. The Telegraph subsequently reports that Villa are now ready to pay £60million for Phillips this summer.

Gerrard has made a defensive midfielder signing a top priority. He wants someone who can ‘screen’ his back four and move Villa up the pitch. The manager believes Phillips possesses that trait and so much more.

From Leeds‘ perspective, the report claims that while talks over a new contract for Phillips began, they have now stalled.

Gerrard said of the “phenomenal” backing from Villa’s owners: “Now is the not the time to talk about figures and amounts.

“What the owners have done for this club has been phenomenal in terms of the backing. I don’t think they’ll change because given the communication I’ve had, they’re very ambitious and they want to win matches, as I do.

“I think we are aligned from the top of the club to bottom. My close staff all know where we are strong and where we need support.”

PAPER TALK – JAMES MADDISON UP FOR SALE

Leicester are considering selling midfielder James Maddison as they look to revamp their squad in the upcoming transfer window, a report has claimed.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic rise following his 2018 move from Norwich. In fact, he earned his first England cap early on in the 2019/20 season.

However, he has not been able to capitalise on that and has suffered an indifferent season – alongside his Leicester team-mates.

Injuries have not helped, but Rodgers has made several hints that he wants a rebuild this summer.

According to the Daily Mail, the Foxes boss wants three new signings and Maddison could be the fall guy after such investment.

Rodgers is plotting moves for a new centre-back, a new midfielder and a new forward who can come straight into the first team and make an impact.

But, the financial effects of coronavirus mean that Leicester will then have to consider a major sale – and Maddison could be the one to go.

He had transfer interest from Arsenal last summer, before the Gunners signed Martin Odegaard.

Leicester hope to make as much as £50million for Maddison, whose contract expires in 2024.

PAPER TALK – NEW WEST HAM DEAL

Andrey Yarmolenko, Lukasz-Fabianski West Ham

West Ham will give long-serving goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski a new one-year deal.

The 36-year-old will celebrate his birthday this month, but he is showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, he has been spurred on by the Hammers’ loan signing of Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

As such, he has played a vital role in West Ham’s quest for a top-six finish once again.

Fabianski signed his latest contract last year but has decided to stay on – and boss David Moyes is only too happy to oblige.

Indeed, he hailed the Polish star’s progression and reaction to the competition provided by Areola.

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