Bayern Munich's Marc Roca among Leeds United options as Kalvin Phillips stance made clear

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Bayern Munich midfielder Marc Roca is one of the options Leeds United are exploring as competition and back-up for Kalvin Phillips.

The 25-year-old began his career with Espanyol and made a name for himself in La Liga before penning a five-year deal with Bayern Munich in 2020 following the Spanish club's relegation.

The YEP understands Whites director of football Victor Orta was keen on the Spaniard in January to help bolster the midfield options and Roca available for a summer move after starting just four Bundesliga games last season. According to the Athletic a deal could be struck for a fee in the region of £10m.

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Leeds have already committed to a transfer spend of £35m for RB Salzburg pair Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen, who will both officially become Whites on July 1 when international deals can be cleared, and they hope to conclude a third signing in the next week or so as a vital summer rebuild gets well underway.

Roca is not seen as a replacement for Phillips, however, as Orta attempts to bolster Jesse Marsch's options in the middle of the park. Phillips' absence through injury proved costly last season, a December hamstring tear requiring surgery and leaving the Whites without their defensive midfielder for almost four months of Premier League action as they flirted dangerously with relegation. The club did explore the possibility of bringing Donny van de Beek of Manchester United and Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur to Elland Road in January but after discussions with then head coach Marcelo Bielsa decided not to press ahead with either transfer. Phillips eventually returned towards the end of the season and helped his boyhood club retain top flight status on the final day at Brentford. Roca, a technical, ball-playing, deep-lying midfielder, would be seen as a key part of the supporting cast for Phillips next season, with Leeds keen to avoid the same trouble if injuries strike.

Leeds' position on Phillips remains that they want to secure him on an improved contract this summer. There's confidence at Elland Road that they can tie the 26-year-old England international down to a longer deal, with two years left on his current contract, once his international duty is complete and the picture over his representation becomes clearer. Manchester City's interest in Phillips has been widely reported but as yet the Premier League champions have made no move. If they were to make an offer that neither the Whites nor the player could turn down, Leeds would reinvest the money from that sale in Jesse Marsch's midfield.

Phillips limped out of England's Nations League game with Germany on Tuesday night with what Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate said was 'quite a severe' dead leg. The YEP understands the injury is not so serious that Phillips has had to leave the England camp, however, and he could yet be in contention for further minutes in this batch of Nations League games. England host Italy on Saturday night and Hungary next Tuesday with both games at Wolves' Molineux Stadium.

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