German outfit Bayer Leverkusen have reportedly stated their interest in a possible move for Liverpool defender Nat Phillips.
According to Sky Sports (as reported by the ECHO), Leverkusen have contacted the 24-year-old’s agent over a potential transfer, although several Premier League clubs have also been credited with an interest.
The report claims that Brighton and Hove Albion, Newcastle United, Burnley and West Ham United are also keen on signing Phillips this summer after he impressed last season.
After an injury crisis left Liverpool unable to call upon Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Phillips came to the Anfield outfit’s rescue, putting in a string of solid performances.
The 6 ft 2 beast made 15 top-flight appearances for the Reds last term, helping Jurgen Klopp’s charges to a third-place finish, something which looked well out of their reach at the midway point of the campaign.
However, despite his admirable showing, serious doubts remain over Phillips’ long-term suitability for a club as ambitious as Liverpool.
He made a few costly errors during his run in the first-team, with Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville highlighting a mistake the youngster made against his old team.
“Why is a centre-back back in there? Why does he go back so deep? He is playing them onside, he is unlikely to block the shot. It’s difficult for him,” Neville said on Sky Sports Premier League (8:25pm, May 13, 2021):
“I think Alisson would have saved that. Lack of composure from Nat Phillips. A disappointing moment for him, but a great moment for United.”
With Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip all set to return to full fitness ahead of the upcoming campaign, alongside the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate, Phillips is expected to find himself well down the Liverpool pecking order.
And while he excels at the traditional aspects of defending, he evidently struggles with some of the modern demands placed upon a centre-back.
As per WhoScored, Phillips recorded 0.8 blocks per league game in 2020/21 and 4.8 clearances, the highest tallies compared to his teammates.
Several reports have indicated Liverpool are set to demand £15m for the English defender, a fee which would make a significant difference to the Anfield outfit’s relatively limited transfer budget.
Achieving such a healthy fee for a player who was plying his trade in the second-tier of German football as recently as 2019/20 would represent a good piece of business by director of football Michael Edwards and would potentially allow Klopp to bring in one of his key targets this summer.