It might have been expected but the Kalvin Phillips news hit the Leeds United fanbase like a bombshell because he is so loved by them. Even the thought that it might happen wasn’t easy to take and, when you factor in that Whites supporters will think he’s worth a lot more money than the fee we got, it’s a difficult one. That’s the way it is with the players you love most. But he is on his way and it will be interesting to see how he fares. Good luck to him. At Leeds, though, it’s back to business now, getting the team sorted out and that money now needs to be reinvested.
As attention turns to incoming players, it also turns to Raphinha. He’s a player who can turn it on and do things others can’t and Leeds has been a great platform for him. Clearly he’s had his head turned and wants to go elsewhere.
Barcelona has seemed like the obvious move for him but the Arsenal link had to be taken extremely seriously given the Premier League and its financial clout at the top level. And now Chelsea sound very serious about him. I would much rather that we didn’t make players who end up playing against us and causing us pain down the line. I would have thought he would want Champions League football. That’s got to be an attraction, so Arsenal would be somewhat surprising, for me. We've been led to believe that he's got his heart set on a certain place, but they’ve still got to come up with the cash and if they're going to do it, it needs to be pretty damn quick. As for the Newcastle United link this week, that's one I just cannot see. I cannot see the sense in that - unless you’re talking purely cash. If so, then you’d play for anyone but that shouldn’t be the case and doesn’t seem to be the case with Raphinha.
The best players will always have clubs buzzing around and asking the question, knowing that it looks like a deal is there to be done. Every player is a deal to be done but it’s how much. That’s going to be the sticking point.
It’s great to see most of his Leeds team-mates reporting back for pre-season because it means we’re getting closer to it all kicking off again.
I was looking back and thinking about the medicals we went through and my first one, from Aston Villa to Chelsea, I just remember them taking X-rays and hitting my knee with a little rubber hammer. As long as I reacted right, it was job done. When I went to Torino many years later, it took a day and a half and I was hooked up to everything going. It was running machines, heart-rate monitors, you name it, I was attached to it.
Medical technology has come on leaps and bounds so I’d imagine now the guys going through all sorts. Pre-season was always part dread because you had to report with your running shoes, when you just wanted to stick the boots on. They were parked somewhere and off you’d go. For whatever reason, it was always hot on the first day. It wasn’t one I looked forward to. No doubt the Leeds lads will be enjoying getting their nice new kit and getting stuck into a pre-season that’s individually tailored to each and every one of them, so it suits them down to the ground. It’s very different now. When I was starting out everyone got lumped in together, goalkeepers were allowed to run at the back and that was about it.
Any time a new season comes around, pre-season gives you a fresh start and a chance to change the manager’s perception of you. Mateusz Klich did that. I remember seeing him in a friendly at Tadcaster and he was on his way out at that stage but his attitude was absolutely superb. He got an opportunity when Ronaldo Vieira was sold to Sampdoria and now it’s obvious why. He proved it can be done.
But right now at Leeds it’s doubly true because Jesse Marsch will have more time to assess everyone in the relative calm before the Premier League starts. He’ll have players who were away last season under his nose, so let’s see if one or two can return and impress him.
There will also be players gearing up to move out on loan. Charlie Cresswell is one of those, a player who is already a great leader, very vocal, but someone who needs to get minutes.
If you look at the numbers we have at centre-half, his level just isn’t going to progress quickly enough without going somewhere and playing all the time. He’s the one you look at in the youngsters at Leeds and think get him out, give him experience, knowing that he’s going to progress rather quickly so we can bring him back at the right time.
With defenders, it’s easier to make an impression and at centre-half it is all about experience. Putting yourself in the right position, on the right side of the attacker, or moving a yard this way or that, makes a huge difference and it comes with experience. It takes time to work out the nuances of the position. I hope he gets the chance to go and do that and comes back all the better for it. He’s a prospect.