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I am incredibly excited – Kalvin Phillips links up with Manchester City

Kalvin Phillips has joined Manchester City from Leeds (Paul Ellis/PA)
Kalvin Phillips has joined Manchester City from Leeds (Paul Ellis/PA)

Manchester City have completed the signing of Kalvin Phillips from Leeds in a deal worth up to a potential £45million.

The Premier League champions announced on Monday the England midfielder had signed a six-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

City agreed a basic £42million fee with Leeds last month with a potential further £3million to be added in bonuses.

He is the fourth addition to Pep Guardiola’s squad this summer after the arrivals of Erling Haaland, Stefan Ortega Moreno and Julian Alvarez.

Phillips said: “I am absolutely delighted to have joined Manchester City.

“City have again proved to be the best team in the country with an amazing squad and a manager in Pep Guardiola who is rightly considered to be the finest in the world.

“To be able to play under Pep and learn from him and his coaching staff as well as be part of such a fantastic squad is a prospect that I am incredibly excited about.

“City are a world-class club with world-class staff and facilities and it’s a dream come true to have joined the club.”

Phillips played a key role for England at Euro 2020
Kalvin Phillips played a key role for England at Euro 2020 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Phillips, 26, came through the youth ranks at hometown Leeds and made his debut at the age of 19 in 2015.

He was converted from an attacking midfielder to a deep-lying playmaker by former manager Marcelo Bielsa and, after rejecting a move to Aston Villa, shone as Leeds won promotion back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence in 2020.

He earned his first England cap in September of that year and went on to start every game at Euro 2020, where Gareth Southgate’s side reached the final.

His final season at Leeds was disrupted by injury but ended on a positive note as relegation was avoided on the final day of the campaign.

Phillips was a crowd favourite at Leeds after coming through their youth ranks
Phillips was a crowd favourite at Leeds after coming through their youth ranks (John Walton/PA)

Phillips admitted his decision had been a difficult one but now hopes to take his game to the next level.

“I have always loved Leeds and it is all I have ever known,” he said. “To come here is a big decision for me. It is a decision that took a lot of thinking about.

“It was just more the fact that I wanted to experience something different, how different teams work and how the fanbase works as well.

“I think I am pretty suited to playing in big games. I haven’t experienced many of them but hopefully this season I will do.”

Phillips also published an open letter in which he paid tribute to Leeds and particularly Bielsa, current manager Jesse Marsch and the fans.

He described Leeds as “one of the best clubs on Earth” and that it had been a childhood dream and a privilege to play for them.

He hailed Bielsa as a “special person” and “the best manager I have ever come across”, as well as thanking him for giving him “everything I needed to become the person I am today on and off the field.”

He said Marsch was an “unbelievable manager but an even better person” who installed the confidence and belief to beat relegation.

After also thanking his team-mates, Phillips said he hoped fans would “understand my decision and accept that I only want to chase my dreams and test myself against and with the best teams and best players on the planet.”

He added: “As a young kid I had so many dreams and still do… but playing for you was the one I will never forget. You are the best fans in the world.

“Good luck to everyone involved with Leeds United. I love you all and will miss you.”

Leeds reciprocated by describing Phillips as inspirational and someone who “will always be a champion” in his home city.

“No words can thank Kalvin enough for his efforts whilst at the club and we wish him nothing but success in the future,” the club said in a statement.

Meanwhile, City academy midfielder Darko Gyabi has completed his move in the opposite direction. The 18-year-old England youth international has signed a four-year contract at Elland Road.

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