New Manchester City signing Kalvin Phillips has issued an emotional message to Leeds United fans and a particularly glowing tribute to one “special person” after completing his transfer to the Premier League champions.
The England midfielder sealed his move to City on a six-year deal on Monday. Pep Guardiola’s side are paying £42m for the midfielder – rising to £45m with add-ons – but Leeds believe the deal will be worth closer to £50m to them.
The move brings an end to his time with his boyhood club Leeds, where he came through the ranks to make his debut back in 2014.
Philips joined Leeds as a 14-year-old and made 234 appearances. He was a strong part of the team that gained promotion under Marcelo Bielsa and also played a key role in the Premier League over the last two seasons.
His displays earned him a place in the England squad for the 2020 European Championship, and he has certainly established himself as an Elland Road legend.
After sealing his move to the Etihad, Philips posted a heartfelt letter to the Leeds United fans and club on social media. In his letter, Phillips paid a particular tribute to the club’s fans, Marcelo Bielsa, Jesse Marsch, Andrea Radrizzani, Victor Orta and Angus Kinnear.
“First of all, I would like to express how much of a privilege it has been to play for this amazing club,” he wrote.
“Since making my debut at 17, it has been a journey any Leeds lad could wish for.
“When I was young, I went to see my first ever game at ER and from that moment I knew that my dream was to put on that white shirt and walk out on that pitch. I’d like to thank everyone involved at the club for making Leeds one of the best clubs on earth. Every manager I have played under for showing trust in me and teaching me all I know.
“I’d also like to thank Andrea, Victor and Angus for helping to bring this club back to where it truly belongs. You guys are a major reason as to why our club is where it is today and where it will go in the future.
“I cannot mention Leeds without mentioning one special person – Marcelo. The best manager I have ever come across. He was a man that gave the club life, he gave the players and everyone involved in the club belief that we were good enough to return to the Premier League after 16 years. Not only did you give the club everything, but you also gave me everything I needed to become the person I am today, on and off the field.
“And now to Jesse, what an unbelievable manager you are, but what an even better person. You came into this club and gave every single player confidence and belief in a very difficult season, and that’s what kept us in the league. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
“To all my teammates from my debut to my last game, thank you for helping a Leeds lad achieve his dream. I wish everyone all the best in the future and for the next season. Over the last four years, me and you boys have shared so many memories, from missing out on the play-offs to getting promoted and then surviving relegation last season. You lot are an unbelievable set of boys that deserve everything.
“And finally, to my family, the fans! I hope you guys understand my decision and will accept that I only want to chase my dreams and test myself against and with the best teams and best players on the planet. As a young kid, I had so many dreams and still do, but playing for you was the one I will never forget.
“You are the best fans in the world.
“Good luck to everyone involved with Leeds United. I love you all and will miss you.
“Never goodbye. I WILL see you soon. MOT!”
Phillips becomes Guardiola’s second summer signing after the arrival of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund. He is a replacement for the departed Fernandinho.