Kalvin Phillips one of three midfielders targeted by Ralf Rangnick 8 months ago

Kalvin Phillips one of three midfielders targeted by Ralf Rangnick

Rangnick is keen to strengthen United's midfield

Ralf Rangnick has reportedly identified Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips as a possible transfer target having identified Manchester United's midfield as an area of weakness.

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Rangnick was named as interim manager at Old Trafford in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's departure at the end of last month.

Prior to being given the job, he held discussions with United's football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, where he recommended that midfield was an area for investment.

According to ESPN, Phillips was one of three names Rangnick put forward as being worthy of a closer look by United's scouting department. Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, who United tried to sign from Birmingham before his move to Germany, and RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara were also named as possible additions.

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Rangnick's chances of bringing Phillips across the Pennines appear remote. The 26-year-old, who was also linked with a move to Manchester two months ago, was born in Leeds and is a product of his hometown club's academy. The rivalry between the two clubs means it is unlikely he would be willing to make the move.

As United discovered with their long-running pursuit of Jadon Sancho, Dortmund only allow players to leave when they receive a satisfactory offer. With Bellingham, United - or one of his many other admirers - would likely have to table a huge offer to prise the midfielder away.

Haidara, therefore, might represent the most likely arrival in the short term. The Malian played under Rangnick at Leipzig and is thought to have a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for £33m - significantly cheaper than potential moves for Phillips or Bellingham would likely cost.

The same article by ESPN also says that, while Rangnick has been given the green light to explore possible January arrivals, the squad's bloated size means outgoings are more likely than any significant arrivals.

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