Whisper it softly, but is Tyler Adams an improvement on Kalvin Phillips?

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Leeds United is a football club that is famous for producing excellent footballers courtesy of its world-class academy. Sadly for the Whites though, they are as equally renowned for selling these young starlets when offers come in and then replacing them with players who are nowhere near as talented. In fact, there were times when certain Leeds chairmen wouldn’t even bother finding a replacement, as the Whites fanbase found out when Ken Bates sold Fabian Delph to Aston Villa in 2009 for a fee of around €9 million and subsequently replaced him with a few new corporate boxes in the East Stand. Needless to say, Leeds were a bit light in midfield that season.

Of course, this isn’t a deep dive into the turbulent times under Bates’ ownership but, rather, a nod at how often Leeds fans have been given the short end of the stick in the transfer market. Worryingly, this trend looked to be repeating itself when the Whites accepted a bid from Manchester City during the 2022 summer for the services of Kalvin Phillips – Leeds boy wonder who was one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s team sheet for England. Losing a player of Phillips’ ability was certainly tough to take for the Elland Road faithful, but when you also consider the connection he had to the region and indeed the club, it seemed impossible to imagine that Leeds would find a fitting replacement. Step forward, Tyler Adams.

Leeds turned to RB Leipzig to find Phillips’ replacement by signing Adams who had fallen down the pecking order at the Red Bull Arena. Financially, it was worth a punt with Adams’ relatively meager €20 million fee a sum that Leeds could have, albeit reluctantly, written off should the American have failed to hit the ground running in West Yorkshire.

The reality, however, couldn’t be further from the truth given that Adams has made a sensational start to life at Elland Road, Some of the main highlights include the midfielder playing a starring role in victories over Chelsea and Liverpool, with the 23-year-old earning the man of the match award against the Blues.

Crucially, these performances have helped keep the dreaded relegation places at bay and overall, you would have to conclude that if Adams stays fit, then the outlook looks positive for Leeds this season. Further evidence of this theory can be found by looking at Lottoland Ireland sports betting prices for relegation from the Premier League where the Whites are priced 5/2 to go down. Granted, this price doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of a return to the Championship but again, with a man of Adams’ ability in midfield, Leeds should stay up.

Of course, it’s never wise to pin the hopes of a club on one man but Adams’ stats so far show that when he plays, Leeds accumulate points. As of early November and with Leeds having played 12 games, the American’s Premier League numbers read as having made 44 tackles, completed 87 recoveries, won 64 duels, and been able to intercept the ball 15 times. In short, Adams covers every blade of grass in Leeds’ midfield and is a nightmare to play against.

With these hugely impressive numbers in mind, it’s worth asking if Leeds have finally been given a replacement who is better than the one they sold. It’s early days yet but Adams could be the Premier League’s signing of the season.

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