KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2022: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Surprise front-runners emerge for Nat Phillips transfer despite German interest

Liverpool are open to a deal for fifth-choice centre-back Nat Phillips before Tuesday’s deadline, with a surprise front-runner emerging this weekend.

With the recall of Rhys Williams from his loan at Blackpool, Phillips has been made available for transfer in the final days of the January window.

Southampton, Bournemouth and Benfica all attempted moves in the summer, but there was no suggestion of repeat interest mid-season.

The Athletic‘s James Pearce has now reported that Galatasaray are “leading the chase” for the 25-year-old, despite clubs from the Bundesliga also making contact.

Phillips is said to be “open to the idea of making the move to Istanbul,” with “front-runners” Galatasaray currently top of the Super Lig.

It is claimed that there are three options when it comes to a deal, with a permanent transfer, a loan-to-buy deal and a straight loan all up for discussion.

Turning 26 in March and following temporary spells with Stuttgart and Bournemouth, it would arguably be best for Phillips to depart on a permanent basis, with Liverpool valuing him at around £10 million.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, July 31, 2022: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and RC Strasbourg Alsace at Anfield. Strasbourg won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, Galatasaray have only once spent over £10 million on a player in their history, that being for striker Mario Jardel in 2000.

That makes the Turkish side meeting Phillips’ price tag unlikely, though Okan Buruk’s squad is particularly short of centre-back options at present.

Phillips was kept at Liverpool for the first half of the season following injuries to Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate, making the matchday squad on 24 occasions.

But with Williams now back on Merseyside and available in an emergency, the club are seemingly willing to allow their No. 47 to depart in pursuit of regular first-team football.