The intriguing Leeds United and Man City transfer swap deal that would raise more questions than answers

The Whites have been linked with a swoop for a struggling City talent
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They say hindsight sees in 20/20. Which is, of course, always just about the last thing you want to be reminded of after the fact when something has gone dreadfully wrong. You can't help wondering how Kalvin Phillips' career might have turned out had he been able to employ the benefit of hindsight.

Would he, for instance, have left Leeds United in the first place, willing to trade adulation at his boyhood club for a predominantly watching brief as Manchester City hoovered up just about every piece of silverware going last season? Would he have opted to move somewhere else instead, perhaps - somewhere where he would be guaranteed more minutes and a better chance of retaining the starting role of England that has so agonisingly slipped through his fingers? Would he have avoided a loan move to West Ham like the plague, desperately staying away from East London and thus, never enduring the Sisyphean stint that has culminated in him flicking a middle finger at a discontented fan over the weekend?

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Alas, we shall never know for sure, but it is with a fairly high degree of certainty that we can suggest that the Yorkshire Pirlo will leave Man City on a permanent bass this summer. We can also probably rule out the possibility of him penning a lengthy contract with West Ham, come to think of it.

Those two likelihoods aside, the course of Phillips' immediate future is not particularly clear. If The Sun are to be believed, however, his beloved Leeds United could look to bring him home to Elland Road in the coming months. To do so, they are likely to need a couple of things; £30 million and a promotion back to the Premier League. In fairness, neither are necessarily out of the question.

But would Man City really be happy to take a £15 million hit on a player they signed just two years ago? Maybe, maybe not; only they will know for certain. That being said, perhaps Leeds do possess exactly the kind of sweetener who would appeal to the champions, and who could, hypothetically, vastly reduce the asking price for their former talisman.

Archie Gray is a special, special talent. Prodigious, versatile, and unflappable, the 18-year-old has made 42 appearances for Leeds across all competitions so far this season, and according to Football Insider, is garnering attention from Premier League heavyweights like Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. On the evidence of his current trajectory, he is destined for the very, very top.

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He is also exactly the kind of player that you could imagine City casting a beady eye over; gifted, technically astute, capable of fulfilling more than one role in Pep Guardiola's intricate machine. Is there, then, a version of events in which the treble winners attempt to secure the precocious teen as a makeweight in some kind of celebrated homecoming for Phillips? It is not wholly out of the question.

And that, in turn, raises all kinds of hypothetical philosophical questions for Leeds and their support. Would they sacrifice a bright young thing if it helped them to bring home a returning hero? How good can Gray become, and how soon can he reach his full potential? At what price point would they walk away from a deal for Phillips, regardless of their sentimental attachment?

In an ideal world, the Whites won't have to consider any of those conundrums this summer, but if their interest in Phillips is genuine, and if other clubs do take a concrete stance in their various pursuits of Gray, then perhaps there will be some uncomfortable pondering to do.