Aston Villa could sign a Manchester City star to replace a disgruntled summer recruit, though a move will require a sizeable favour from Newcastle, per reports.
Villa made a trio of eye-catching signings over the summer, one in defence, one in midfield and one in the forward line.
Centre-back Pau Torres cost £33m when arriving from Villarreal. Youri Tielemans did not cost a fee when lured to Villa Park as a free agent once his contract with Leicester expired.
Moussa Diaby was arguably the most exciting addition of the three when joining in a club-record £51.9m deal from Bayer Leverkusen.
But while Torres and Diaby in particular have quickly settled, the same cannot be said for Tielemans.
The Belgian has been a bit-part player thus far and his frustrations were recently detailed by Football Insider.
If the 26-year-old does depart, the move may wind up working in Villa’s favour. Indeed, from a financial perspective alone, Villa would be selling a player they did not pay a transfer fee to sign.
Now, according to trusted reporter Ben Jacobs, Tielemans’ potential replacement at Villa Park could be Kalvin Phillips.
Phillips U-turn opens door, but Villa need Newcastle favour
The Man City midfielder rarely gets a look-in at club level and recently admitted he’ll consider his future when speaking after England’s 3-1 victory over Italy.
“I know that I need to be playing games and competing every weekend,” admitted Phillips.
“I’m going to have to make a decision on [my future] over the next months.”
The Telegraph subsequently stressed Phillips ‘will consider a move away from City in the next transfer window’ if more gametime isn’t forthcoming.
That’s alerted a number of clubs including Newcastle and potentially Aston Villa.
The Northern Echo claimed Newcastle would be willing to sanction either a loan or permanent swoop for Phillips in January.
The Magpies should soon have a void to fill if Sandro Tonali is banned for breaching betting regulations and TEAMtalk can confirm Phillips is on their shortlist.
But per Jacobs, Unai Emery could also look to snap up Phillips as a replacement for Tielemans. The wrinkle there is Villa are unlikely to sever ties with Tielemans until the summer, meaning they’d be relying on Phillips not being signed by a rival club like Newcastle in January.
“I think that clubs that have looked at Phillips – before it was clear that he wanted to stay at Manchester City – are more like your Newcastle’s and West Ham’s. Aston Villa took a look as well,” confirmed Jacobs.
“He’s a slightly different player to Youri Tielemans, but that one hasn’t worked out yet.
“So, it is possible that Emery, in a year, if we’re being hypothetical, could look at that holding midfielder position, even though Villa have some other good players there.”