Queens Park Rangers’ Matt Phillips has made quite an impression on the Premier League this season and it looks like he is now at the centre of a transfer battle between West Brom and Southampton.
QPR currently sit in 19th and are four points from safety, but while the club’s season hasn’t been quite what they had hoped, one player has shone through.
Phillips, 24, signed for the Hoops for £5million from Championship side, Blackpool and he still has two years remaining on his contract. It does not look like he will be at the London club next season, though, with 75% of fans admitting they do not believe the winger will still be at the club come August – and it is clear to see why.
Phillips has been instrumental in his team’s push for survival and only Lionel Messi himself has more assists in 2015. The 24-year-old struggled under previous manager Harry Redknapp but under Chris Ramsey he has made an impression.
In recent weeks he has collected seven assists in 10 matches and it has made other clubs sit up and take notice.
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West Brom are trying again to sign Phillips after their first attempt in the January transfer window was unsuccessful. At the time QPR were not willing to sell their star, but it looks like they will not have choice if they are to be relegated. Albion could be thwarted again, though, as Southampton have reportedly joined the race to sign the Scottish international.
Saints were interested in buying Phillips when Blackpool were selling but he chose to join QPR instead. Ronald Koeman is thought to be a huge admirer of the winger and reports suggest he is willing to offer him a chance to stay in the Premier League if Rangers slip back down to the Championship.
The youngster makes a fantastic winger due to his fast pace and skill down the wing, and his ability to whip balls into the box makes any team he plays for a force to be reckoned with. Phillips would be a great asset to a Southampton side who are looking to add speed to the side in order to have different options in the Premier League and as they push towards a European spot.
Koeman likes to bring in young players who show potential and then develop them into superstars. The winger showed his talent when he signed for the Seasiders from Wycombe Wanderers and played an important part in getting Blackpool to the Championship play-off final in 2012.
Phillips is no-where near the finished article, though. Whilst he has fantastic pace and crossing ability, his defensive attributes can let him down. The Scottish star is not a keen tackler, but Koeman is not looking for another defensive winger – he wants an attacking one who will take on defenders.
The Saints boss is looking to add to his already talented squad as he prepares to show the Premier League that this season’s success is by no means a fluke.
Phillips would fit in perfectly at Southampton as they grow and mature into a steady Premier League side, but if QPR manage to swerve relegation it’s possible that a “Not for Sale” sign may appear in the window of Loftus Road.