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Breaking News: Kalvin Phillips signs clear for Everton after Kevin Thelwell transfer pledge

Is it worth the risk for Everton to sign Kalvin Phillips on a loan from Manchester City?

Kalvin Phillips signs clear for Everton after Kevin Thelwell transfer pledge

Kalvin Phillips when signing on loan for West Ham United (Image: West Ham United FC/Getty Images)

Everton is considering taking a calculated risk by signing Kalvin Phillips on loan from Manchester City, but is this the right move for a declining talent?

On the last day of the 2022 winter window, the day Frank Lampard was appointed, the Blues got their fingers burned over another England international midfielder, Dele Alli. Dele had to join on a permanent basis because the former Chelsea manager had already brought in Donny van de Beek on loan from Manchester United and the team had already used up their other domestic loan slot three days before Rafael Benitez was fired by signing Anwar El Ghazi from Aston Villa (the winger would play just 11 minutes of action in the form of two brief cameos off the bench against Leeds United and Manchester City).

Football fans are well aware that Daniel Levy, the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, is a notoriously tough negotiator. According to the ECHO, later that year, he agreed on a price for Richarlison with Bill Kenwright, the Everton counterpart, in Scott’s, a classy seafood restaurant in Mayfair, only to try and reduce his offer. Levy allowed the Blues to sign Dele on an initial free transfer but added a number of appearance-related fees and other clauses that could have raised the final cost to approximately £40 million. As it happened, the player who the esteemed CIES Football Observatory had named the world’s most valuable midfield player four years prior was unable to regain such form.

Dele, who was never able to play a complete game for Everton, started just one game for the Blues, a 5-1 loss to Arsenal on the last day of the 2021–2022 season. Three days earlier, Lampard’s team had secured their place in the Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Crystal Palace at home. Apart from that, he was limited to twelve substitute appearances prior to an unfortunate loan stint at Besiktas.

After an interview with Gary Neville was released in July of last year, in which he candidly discussed a number of off-field problems he had experienced as a child and an adult, Dele did not play at all this season. This was followed by further disappointment with injuries. Everton announced ahead of their season-ending match that he will stay with them while he continues an intense rehabilitation programme from a long-term groin injury that he has been undergoing away from Merseyside, even though his contract expires at the end of this month.

At 28, Phillips is the same age as Dele, but if the Blues could sign him to a short-term contract, they could give it a shot before making a purchase. Kevin Thelwell, the director of football, has stated that shrewd transactions both inside and outside the team are essential to a sustainable football model. The Etihad Stadium outcast’s loan move might be an economical way to make an acquisition.

For Manchester City, Phillips has only ever started two Premier League games. The Catalan manager later apologized for his remarks, which brought him the shame of being called overweight. His current stock is low following a lackluster loan spell at West Ham United in the latter half of this season.

After being signed by David Moyes on January 26, Phillips had a terrible debut on February 1 against Bournemouth at home. In the third minute, he made a mistake by passing the ball to the visiting striker Dominic Solanke, which allowed the Cherries to tie the game at one goal. After that, he made a total of just eight appearances for the Hammers, but he never finished a game. In addition, other than his debut, he only ever played more than 45 minutes once, during a 2-0 loss at Nottingham Forest.

But even though the player known as “The Yorkshire Pirlo” from his east London days may not seem like much, there are a few bright spots when looking through Comparisonator’s statistics associated with him. Only two other Premier League players in his position, Bernardo Silva (3.4) and Rodri (2.63) of Manchester City, could surpass Phillips’ 2.58 progressive runs per ninety minutes while he was at West Ham United.

In terms of “picking-ups,” which are instances in which neither team has possession and a player reaches the loose ball first, Phillips again finished third in the division with a 4.45, trailing only Ryan Yates of Nottingham Forest (4.73) and Scott McTominay of Manchester United (4.79). He also places in the top six for ball recoveries (10.31), a category that is led by Alexis Mac Allister of Liverpool (11.59), so there are indications that he may still be able to perform at the caliber that led to his £42 million transfer from Leeds United, his hometown team, in 2022.

The Blues manager is obviously a fan. “I liked him then and I like him now, I think he’s a very good player who has shown that,” Dyche stated of Phillips in 2021, revealing he attempted to sign the player in 2019 while serving as Burnley’s manager.

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