A Nat Phillips sale is on, according to reports. If it happens, massive credit must got to Jurgen Klopp.
The Telegraph claims Liverpool are open to a Nat Phillips sale. They say Burnley have made an approach and that the Reds have a £10m price on the table.
Initially, anyway. That would be the upfront cost while add-ons could push things further. We wouldn’t expect Burnley to be the only club interested in Phillips, so we’ll have to see if a bidding war happens.
Regardless, that’s £10m+ that we just never saw coming. Phillips didn’t command anything like that fee a year ago, when he was a 23-year-old with next-to-no top-flight experience.
He had a bit-part place in the squad and was someone who we just sort of assumed lacked Premier League quality. After all, we never really saw Phillips in action at a good level.
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His role at Liverpool was to be there in case of an injury crisis. As it so happened, that crisis came about. Phillips was thrust into a prominent role and slowly but surely established himself.
Not only did Phillips establish himself at Liverpool, though, he made it clear that he could hang in the Premier League. He’s got Champions League knockout games under his belt, as well as a third-place finish in the league.
Phillips deserves great credit for that. He took a chance that never should have come along and will make wonderful career off of it. But he’s not the only one coming out of this looking good.
Jurgen Klopp’s role
This is potentially £10m extra. It’s money that Liverpool would never normally have.
The only reason they’re getting it is because Klopp went with Phillips when he didn’t have to. He had other options – persist with experienced midfielders at the back, sign someone more experienced in January to partner Ozan Kabak – but he stuck with Phillips. Eventually.
It took time to reach that point, of course. But when that time came, Klopp put his trust in Phillips, a player whose only regular football to date came in the German second division.
He even trusted Phillips to support Rhys Williams through games as the more experienced centre-back. That’s quite remarkable considering Liverpool were chasing a top-four finish.
And it all paid off. Not only did Liverpool get that finish but Klopp created at least £10m of value in Phillips that no one else really saw.
Of course, other coaches and staff also deserve credit for developing Phillips and seeing potential in him. Klopp, though, was the one who had to put him in the lineup every week.
And in doing so, he’s made Liverpool an extra £10m – as well as securing that top-four finish.