An update has emerged on Newcastle United’s pursuit of Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips…
According to i News, the Magpies are considering a deal for the Anfield destroyer as they plot a number of defensive additions to improve their squad.
The report claims that he is high on their list of centre-back targets and the Reds are demanding £15m for his services.
Eddie Howe could find his own Steve Howey for Newcastle in a deal to sign Phillips from the Premier League giants this month.
Howey was a homegrown defender who played 160 times for the Magpies during his time at the club and 193 games in the Premier League overall in his career. Phillips could follow a similar career path, albeit without starting at Newcastle, as he is an English centre-back who has the quality to play regularly at the top level for a number of years.
The Liverpool man may even end up coming up short on the international front, just like Howey during his playing days. Despite playing week in, week out for the Toon, the 50-year-old ended his career with just four caps for England’s senior side.
Phillips has played 24 times for Liverpool’s first team but has not been called up to represent England at any age level. This suggests that, like Howey, he may be a player who is overlooked by his country despite his performances at club level.
Last season, the 24-year-old averaged a superb WhoScored rating of 7.29 in the Premier League, his match average of 5.6 successful aerial duels the joint-fifth highest in the entire division. This led to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp showering the centre-back with praise for his performances.
The German told Goal.com: “Nat Phillips is just an exceptional career so far, with all the things he did in the past and what he thought about and where he was and all these things. Now playing for Liverpool in the Champions League, Premier League, winning games, winning challenges.
“[He will have] probably the best heading statistics in the history of the Premier League I could imagine at least, it is unbelievable what the boy is doing there, and on top of that playing good football.”
This suggests that Phillips is capable of putting in top-class displays at the highest level, and that is why he could be Howe’s own Steve Howey, as the 24-year-old English destroyer could come in and be Newcastle’s go-to centre-back for the next decade if he remains consistent.