Liverpool are in discussions to offload Nat Phillips to a surprising destination, according to a report that has revealed three options under consideration.
Phillips is surplus to requirements at Liverpool despite being a handy player to turn to in moments of difficulty in the past. Only ever around the first-team picture due to injuries to more established players in the first place, it is now hard for him to get a game at Anfield.
Therefore, the topic of a January departure for the centre-back has been quite prominent. It seems quite likely he could move on, though Jurgen Klopp recently admitted it would depend on what offers come in.
Now, a report from The Athletic has shed light on who exactly is leading the running for Phillips.
The 25-year-old has previously endured loan spells outside of English football and within it, with Stuttgart and Bournemouth respectively. In terms of his next move, Phillips could be due to head overseas again.
According to the report, Galatasaray are the leading candidates to sign Phillips in a deal that would take him to the Turkish Super Lig.
There are “ongoing” talks between the two clubs, who are debating three ways to get the deal done. Liverpool could either sanction a dry loan with no option to buy, a loan with a purchase clause, or a permanent transfer.
If they are to sell Phillips, they are hoping to raise about £10million.
Liverpool have him under contract until 2025, but it seems clear he isn’t getting past Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip or Joe Gomez if everyone is fit.
There was also a decision recently to recall Rhys Williams from a loan spell of his own, perhaps paving the way for the fifth-in-command Phillips to leave instead.
The former Stuttgart man has attracted other clubs in the German Bundesliga. However, the report concludes that Galatasaray are the “frontrunners” for Phillips as things stand.
And in turn, Liverpool’s number 47 is “open” to joining the Super Lig leaders.
Nat Phillips might leave Liverpool for Turkish transfer
Galatasaray already have a few former Premier League players in their squad. For example, they can call upon Patrick van Aanholt, Lucas Torreira and Juan Mata.
Phillips could be the next to head in their direction if the talks can reach a positive conclusion.
After only managing five first-team appearances so far this season – of which only two have been starts – it makes sense for Phillips to continue his career elsewhere.
There will always be regret when a player leaves a club of Liverpool’s stature. But Phillips will turn 26 in March and needs to make the most of his career.
Galatasaray are a well-established club, while his previous experience abroad suggests he would be up for the challenge. If he was willing to go to Germany as a youngster, he has equipped himself well to try out a different footballing culture in the midpoint of his time as a professional.
Perhaps the most ideal formula would be a loan with an option to buy, in case things don’t work out for either party. But Phillips proved to be useful during his last loan spell with Bournemouth – helping them to win promotion back to the Premier League – so could be backing himself to perform well in his next venture.
It might mean his Liverpool spell would be coming to an end, but making 29 appearances for a club of their calibre is no small accomplishment. When the time comes, Phillips will surely leave with Liverpool’s well wishes.