The Daily Mail says United have been plotting to sign Phillips since last summer, when their decision to sell Daniel James to Leeds for just £24million was influenced by their desire to improve relations with their rivals.
United will not make a formal move for the England midfielder until the end of the season.
Phillips is expected to sign a new contract before then and it may suit all three parties for it to include a release clause, which would give Leeds some security in negotiations with United if they formalise their long-standing interest.
Need a VPN? Or seeking to switch? Then support Tribal Football by clicking here to sign up with our official partners NordVPN. Not only will you receive the best VPN experience, but also great discounts by signing up via Tribal Football. Thanks for your support!