As per The Times, City are believed to be turning their attention towards making a move for the 26-year-old this summer, after confirming the arrival of Borussia Dortmund hotshot Erling Haaland on Monday.
The report suggests that Pep Guardiola and co view the 19-cap international as a potential replacement for veteran gem Fernandinho – with the Brazilian set to leave the Etihad once his contract expires at the end of the month – and would reportedly be willing to pay as much as £60m for his services.
Potentially missing out on the £38k-per-week machine to the title winners would no doubt be a painful situation for those at Villa Park, with manager Steven Gerrard likely to have viewed him as an ideal fit to add to his midfield.
Despite having only two years of top-flight football under his belt thus far, the £45m-rated ace has already cemented his status as one of the most effective performers in the division, while he’s also forged his way to becoming a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England side.
At the end of his first campaign in the top tier, Phillips went on to play a vital role in the Three Lions’ surge to the European Championship final last summer, featuring in all seven games en route to the showpiece and forming an immense partnership with West Ham United talisman, Declan Rice.
That duo was the subject of praise from coaching icon Fabio Capello, with the Italian highlighting the Yorkshire-born star, in particular, for his standout displays, suggesting that the “aggressive” playmaker is the “best modern midfielder” that he has seen.
Such plaudits have no doubt been deserved and while he endured an injury-hit campaign last time out, the 5 foot 10 destroyer still compares favourably to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, ranking in the top 2% for pressures made, the top 3% for tackles and the top 4% for blocks.
His relentless nature in the centre of the pitch has made him such a highly coveted asset, with it a marker of just how far he has come that he is now a top target for arguably the best team in the country – Man City.
Competing with the uber-rich outfit for Phillips’ signature is only likely to end in tears for the Villans, with it looking as if they are set to miss out on one of the best around.