West Ham United are plotting a move for Nathaniel Phillips in the January transfer window, according to emerging reports…
Football Insider claim that the Irons are lining up a swoop for the Liverpool colossus at the turn of the year after suffering a devastating season-ending injury blow to first-choice centre-back Angelo Ogbonna.
An inside source has told the site that the 24-year-old, who is way down the pecking order at Anfield, is amongst their list of defensive targets this winter and that the Hammers have been laying the groundwork for a potential switch.
It’s thought that around £12m would be enough to seal his signature on a permanent basis, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate all earning minutes ahead of him.
With Ogbonna facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines, there’s no knowing if he will ever return to David Moyes’ plans, especially given that he is currently 33 and in the final year of his contract.
Phillips at 24 makes a lot of sense as he wouldn’t be a temporary short-term fix, let alone an expensive one. His experience across the Premier League and in Europe could even make him a considerable upgrade, having featured 23 times for the Reds across all competitions.
The £25m-rated academy gem particularly impressed last season, where he filled in during an injury crisis at Anfield, with Van Dijk absent due to an ACL injury, the very same thing which has now afflicted Ogbonna.
He caught the eye of Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, who dubbed his towering 6 foot 3 defender an aerial “monster” after a particularly glowing display against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Phillips featured in both matches against the east Londoners in 2020/21 and helped his team to two victories, including one in which he silenced Michail Antonio entirely. As per SofaScore, when Liverpool won 3-1 away to Moyes’ side last January, the Irons talisman was limited to one shot on target and one successful dribble from three attempts, whilst he had only three passes all game and lost 66.6% of his duels.
Indeed, across his time in Merseyside and his loan spell at 2. Bundesliga champions Stuttgart, Phillips has won an average of 4.8 aerial duels per game, as well as four clearances and 1.4 tackles per match, via WhoScored.
Considering his value, experience and availability, Irons head of recruitment Rob Newman could quite easily land Moyes a bargain solution to his centre-back problem with a swoop for Phillips this January.
On the above evidence, he would be a perfect signing to fill that void, with Kurt Zouma the first-choice and another place effectively up for grabs.