Brighton “step up” bid for Nat Phillips to replace £50m Ben White

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Nat Phillips could be set to join Brighton as replacement for the Arsenal-bound Ben White, with the Seagulls expected to push ahead with a move for the centre-back.

Though Jurgen Klopp is open to Phillips staying as part of his Liverpool squad this season, there is an acceptance that the 24-year-old could move in search of a regular first-team role.

As it stands, he will be behind Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Ibrahim Konate in the pecking order at Anfield, competing with the likes of Ben Davies, Rhys Williams and Billy Koumetio.

Having proved himself in 20 appearances for the Reds last season, it comes as no surprise that he is attracting interest from other Premier League clubs.

Newcastle, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton have all been linked with a move for Phillips, with Liverpool valuing him at around £15 million.

According to The Athletic‘s Brighton correspondent Andy Naylor, the south-coast side are “poised to step up their interest” in Liverpool’s No. 48.

Phillips is described as “a leading choice” as Graham Potter looks to “restore the numbers” in his defence as White heads to Arsenal in a deal worth £50 million.

A move could certainly suit Phillips due to the defensive setup at Brighton, joining the likes of Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster and Dan Burn, and it would benefit Liverpool if they are able to seal a big-money fee for their fifth-choice centre-back.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0 and finished 3rd in the table. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is widely reported that the Reds are required to sell in order to make any further signings, though it is questionable whether this is actually the case.

More likely is that, like many other clubs, Liverpool are waiting for the transfer market to open up before they finalise any further deals, with few high-profile moves completed so far across Europe.

Konate is still the fourth-most expensive signing of the summer, behind Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi and Dayot Upamecano, with only 12 deals worth £10 million or more made in the Premier League.

Arsenal‘s impending deal for White, which would make him the second-most expensive English player of all time, could be one of those to kickstart activity.

There is interest in strengthening both in midfield and attack, with a replacement required for Gini Wijnaldum and more competition needed in the final third – particularly up front.

It is unlikely that a new signing would be made to take Phillips’ place, and instead Davies could be retained as a valuable homegrown option who, if all goes well, will not be needed to feature on a regular basis.

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