Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips was a transfer target for Aston Villa confirms Dean Smith

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Dean Smith has confirmed that Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips was a transfer target for Aston Villa in the summer transfer window.

Villa are looking to continue their 100 per cent start to the season against Marcelo Bielsa’s side this evening, having recorded four wins out of four so far in the Premier League.

The Midlands club are hoping to steer clear of the relegation battle this term, forking out £75million on four new signings in the summer market.

They also managed to lure Ross Barkley to Villa Park, with the England midfielder joining on a season-long loan move from Chelsea.

However, Smith has admitted Villa did not enjoy complete success in the latest transfer window, as they were also priced out of a deal for Phillips by Leeds.

“He was on a list of players that we were interested in,” the 49-year-old said ahead of tonight’s crunch clash with United.

“As far as I was aware it never got past initial talks stage with the price tag they wanted and rightly so if you look at their season last year and what they're doing now.”

Phillips has proved instrumental for Bielsa at Elland Road, making 37 appearances in Leeds’ Championship-winning campaign last season.

And the 24-year-old has been rewarded for his impressive form on the international stage, with Gareth Southgate handing him his first four England caps over the past month.

Fortunately for Smith, he has been ruled out of Friday’s trip to Villa with a shoulder injury – which Smith admits is a relief.

“Yeah (it's a boost),” he added. “Similar to [Jamie] Vardy not being in the Leicester team.

“He's been pivotal to the way they play and has rightly earned his way into the England team as well.”

Villa have never won the first five games of a league campaign in their 146-year history, but Smith is determined to etch his team’s name into the record books tonight.

“Our role as head coach and players is to try to create history for the club,” he said.

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“Everybody will always look at what the club has done before.

“We were fortunate enough in the Championship to win 10 games on the spin for the first time in the club's history. We've won a play-off final (in 2019) for the first time in the club's history.

“Now we've had a good start and it's the first time since 1930 that we've won the first four games. We'll look to continue trying to make history as it means you're having successful times.”

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