Pundit reveals Chelsea will sign £50m rated midfielder as Declan Rice alternative

Chelsea “would crave” a player like Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish.

The Blues splashed over £200m in the summer transfer window as they brought in the likes of Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.

However, it is believed that new boss Thomas Tuchel wants a new central midfielder as he looks to put his own stamp on the Chelsea team.

AC Milan’s Franck Kessie has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge with rumours Fikayo Tomori could be used as part of the deal, while they could also make a move for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who is available of a free transfer this summer.

Phillips has been in brilliant form for Leeds this season as Marcelo Bielsa’s men eye a top-half finish in the Premier League.

West Ham enforcer Declan Rice has also been heavily linked but McLeish thinks Phillips could be a good alternative to his England international team-mate.

When asked by Football Insider who could be looking to buy Phillips, McLeish said: “Chelsea don’t really have that. It’s more of the Brazilians and other nationalities that are playing in their midfield, such as Croatians.

“I would think that Chelsea would crave somebody like that. Don’t forget, they’ve got a brilliant young Scot coming through in Billy Gilmour.

“He could perhaps do that same job when his manager feels he’s ready and strong enough to cope with the Premier League.

“Also, when you think of Rice who’s been linked with Chelsea for a long time. You would say Phillips and Rice are that kind of player who would suit Chelsea.

“They’re a wee bit different styles but primarily the same type of position.”

Phillips produced a particularly wonderful performance earlier in the season during Leeds’ win over Everton in November. The performance had Jamie Carragher waxing lyrical about the midfielder.

“Phillips, he’s been outstanding,” Carragher told Sky Sports in November. “You see his stats, top of everything. There’s been other performers as well, think Klich alongside him in midfield. I think Luke Ayling’s been really good as well.

“In fact, it’s been a really big team performance, but I think he’s been outstanding. Everton never really got to grips with him from minute one.”

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