Why £50m Man Utd transfer raid for Man City star makes perfect sense - for both clubs

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The Red Devils are being linked with a potential swoop for a City midfielder.

Some divides are harder to cross than others. The Scottish border, for instance? Piece of cake. The DMZ at the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula? Not so much. And on the grand spectrum that lies between the two, the chasm that separates Manchester United and Manchester City falls squarely in the middle.

It is certainly not unheard of for players to turn out in both the red and the sky blue over the course of a career. Denis Law did it, as did Peter Schmeichel. More recently Carlos Tevez has dabbled in both camps, and so did Owen Hargreaves, Andy Cole, and Andrei Kanchelskis. But nevertheless, whenever a recognisable name does switch allegiances, it is usually cause for mild astonishment.

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Which brings us to Kalvin Phillips, and more specifically, a report from The Sun claiming that Erik ten Hag believes he could be the ideal candidate to bolster his ailing midfield at Old Trafford. With just 89 minutes of Premier League football to his name this term, the common consensus is that the England international's time as a City player is likely to come to end sooner rather than later, and already he has been touted for a series of potential Premier League exits. Newcastle United in particular are expected to be among the chasing pack for his signature.

But the Magpies seemingly have unexpected competition, and to that end, once the initial shock subsides, perhaps United would not be the worst destination for Phillips after. Certainly, the Red Devils have been crying out for a player of his profile for quite some time now. Ten Hag's midfield is lacking in quality, composure, and work rate, and every short term solution they have parachuted in to alleviate their woes has soundly soured in due course.

As such, were Phillips, with his natural proclivity for reading danger and his immense range of passing, playing for any other side in the country, anybody would wholeheartedly be advocating for a transfer pursuit in the coming weeks and month. With that in mind, why should his status as a City player automatically rule him out of United's interests? The short answer is that it shouldn't. And if The Sun are to be trusted, it won't.

What's more, this doesn't feel like a pipe dream either. With City evidently happy to sell, and with United so far off the pace in the title picture that they barely represent a threat at the present moment in time, there is no reason to believe that the champions wouldn't at least consider the prospect of a transfer to their bitter rivals.

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And while it is understood that a loan is more likely in January, if United can position themselves at the front of the queue for a permanent agreement at the end of the season, and if they can scrape together the £50 million or so that City are supposedly demanding, then they should have as good a chance as anybody at prising the 28-year-old away from his Etihad limbo.

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