West Ham and Bayer Leverkusen have reportedly joined the race to sign Nat Phillips this summer.
The centre-half was the most unexpected of heroes for Liverpool last season in the absence of their three first-choice defenders.
He came out of the abyss and helped the Reds gain a top-four place against all odds.
It even led to Jurgen Klopp claiming that he “loves the boy” in a press conference.
Now, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have all returned to fitness. Liverpool have also signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.
This means that Phillips has been shoved right down the pecking order.
So, he is likely to be moved on this summer in a deal to suit all parties.
Numerous sides have been linked in the last few months. Brighton and Burnley have been the two most serious contenders, but they now face stiff competition.
Sky Sports have reported that Leverkusen have contacted Phillips’ agent, while West Ham could also move for him.
It looks increasingly likely that the 24-year-old will be leaving Anfield this summer, but the question is to where.
West Ham system would suit Phillips
A move to West Ham would suit Phillips more than a move to Brighton would in our opinion.
That is because of Graham Potter’s system on playing out from the back, which David Moyes is not as insistent on.
Phillips is very much an old-fashioned defender. While he is capable of playing passing football, it is certainly not his strong point.
The Hammers are in need of centre-halves. They only have four in the squad at present, despite playing with a three-at-the-back for the majority of last season.
Meanwhile, a return to Germany could materialise for Phillips with reported interest from Bayer Leverkusen.
They will have been impressed by his spell at Stuttgart in 2019/20.
They need defensive cover due to an injury sustained by Edmond Tapsoba that will keep him out until October.
This is the move that we would love to see Phillips make.
Leverkusen play European football very regularly. It will be the Europa League next season, but they will be hoping to a return to the Champions League in 2022/23.
We feel that this is the type of move that the Englishman deserves, if it is what he desires.
While The Athletic have stated that his price tag is £15m, Liverpool will hope that all these teams’ reported interest will spark a bidding war.
Anything over £15m for a player that was close to leaving for pennies last summer would be remarkable business.