Brighton could well bid for Nat Phillips in the coming days, according to reports. It’ll force Liverpool into a difficult decision.
Brighton got themselves a cash windfall this week – though, not in the way they’d want. They sold Ben White to Arsenal for £50m.
It’s a massive fee but they’re losing arguably their best player as a result. And he’s one will need replacing.
The Athletic claimed last month that when White leaves, Brighton had a name in mind – Nat Phillips. Liverpool should now brace themselves for a bid.
And brace is the word – this isn’t an easy decision.
Brighton in for Nat Phillips?
Liverpool could sell Phillips, per the Mirror, and it’s easy to see why. The arrival of Ibrahima Konate makes him fifth-choice at the back – that doesn’t guarantee many games.
So a £15m-£20m offer would be welcome in that regard. It’s a significant chunk of cash for someone who may not play all that much.
Phillips may welcome the move, too. Does a 24-year-old want to be a reserve player? Probably not. Brighton would give him Premier League football, potentially as a starter.
And if Phillips asked for the move, Liverpool would almost certainly grant it. But it wouldn’t be their first choice, we imagine.
For one, all four of Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip had serious injury problems last season. A repeat quickly thrusts Phillips into a position of importance again.
Just to be on the safe side, Liverpool really might want a fifth-choice centre-back they can rely on.
On top of that, there are home-grown player rules to consider. Phillips qualifies as home-grown and Liverpool are currently at their maximum for foreign players.
Phillips will become increasingly useful as a home-grown player entering his prime years, then. Liverpool won’t want to let go of that easily as they’d really have to replace him with a good, home-grown player.
Those aren’t easy to find – Arsenal just paid £50m for one.
This is a real decision, then. Brighton may well come knocking with a good offer soon and Liverpool have to choose.