Nat Phillips’ future has been a topic of speculation in recent months amid his lack of regular game time at Liverpool.
The 24-year-old came to the club’s rescue last term after serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.
He was instrumental at the heart of the defence as the Merseyside outfit finished in the Champions League places.
Despite his efforts, he has dropped down the pecking order this season with the return of the regular centre-backs.
The Reds added Ibrahima Konate over the summer. The Frenchman has also got the nod ahead of him.
With just three appearances this term, it appears likely that he could pursue a fresh challenge elsewhere in January.
Here are three clubs that could be interested in landing his services next month.
West Ham United
The Hammers find themselves in a defensive crisis with their leading centre-backs on the sidelines.
Angelo Ogbonna had surgery for an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury last month. He is out for the campaign.
They recently suffered another blow with Kurt Zouma sidelined for up to 12 weeks with a hamstring injury.
David Moyes has confirmed that the club will seek defensive reinforcements to keep up in the top four race.
Phillips would be an ideal addition for them, having proven himself under pressure situations for the Reds last season.
He could be available for around £15 million, but a deal may depend on the Hammers’ form heading into 2022.
The club are currently fourth on the Premier League table, seven points adrift of the Reds who are second.
The Merseyside outfit could be unwilling to negotiate with the Hammers if the gap becomes closer.
The club may not want to boost the Hammers’ Champions League pursuit unless they are in a strong position.
The Magpies are expected to go on a spending spree in January after their takeover from a Saudi-led consortium.
While the temptation will be on pursuing attacking players, they will need to shore up their defence first.
Phillips was linked with the club over the summer, but nothing materialised amid their limited transfer budget.
With funds now available, Phillips could be signed. They have the resources to pay a significant fee.
This would give them a head start over other interested clubs, while the defender may also be tempted to join.
At 24, Phillips is entering the prime of his career and could have a big part to play in the club’s revolution.
The Magpies have been in the drop zone since the start of the campaign, but they are making progress.
After picking up four points in the last two games, they find themselves within three points of safety.
They have a tough festive schedule ahead but could turn around their season with smart spending this winter.
Burnley were also in the mix to land Phillips over the summer, and they could return for his services.
The club are braced for the potential departure of James Tarkowski, who has no plans of renewing his deal.
With his contract expiring in June 2022, the Clarets may be tempted to cash in on his services in the New Year.
The above-mentioned clubs in West Ham and Newcastle are both admirers of the England international.
Tarkowski was denied a move to the Hammers last year. Meanwhile, it has been claimed that he is the Magpies’ top defensive target.
His mid-season departure could see the Clarets enter the transfer market. Phillips could be a like-for-like replacement.
He would perfectly suit Sean Dyche’s style of play with his strong aerial presence. He won 5.6 duels per game last term.
Compared to the Magpies, the Clarets could be more likely to drop down to the Championship next season.
This could be something for Phillips to ponder on if the Lancashire outfit make a formal approach to sign him.
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