Premier League • England

Twice-trapped Liverpool star targeted by title winners in shock £10m exit link to rival Leeds interest

Liverpool defenders Nat Phillips, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool defender Nat Phillips has now captured the attention of a reigning league champion as he looks to finally leave the club, according to a report.

Phillips could have left Liverpool either last summer or in January, when Liverpool received interest in him. However, on each occasion, they stood in his way of an exit. Although they have never planned to use him as a regular starter, injuries at those times forced them to keep him as cover.

This year, after making just five appearances in 2022-23, Phillips will be hoping it is third time lucky as he aims to leave the club. After all, at the age of 26, it is time for him to start playing regularly elsewhere.

Recently, he was suggested as a target for Leeds United after their relegation to the Championship. Robin Koch is about to leave Leeds for Eintracht Frankfurt, while Diego Llorente is due to renew his loan spell at Roma.

Therefore, there could be a vacancy for Phillips to fill at Leeds. Alternatively, though, the former Stuttgart loanee could head abroad for the second time in his career.

According to The Athletic, which was also the source to break the news of Leeds’ interest, Phillips has become a target for Feyenoord.

Arne Slot’s side won the Dutch Eredivisie title last season and will consequently have Champions League football on offer in 2023-24, which makes them an appealing option for Phillips.

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There is no official offer from Feyenoord yet, but when the time comes, the asking price by Liverpool will be in the region of £10million.

Liverpool still have Phillips under contract for another two years, which is why they can demand that kind of sum for a player who has barely featured unless in emergencies.

Phillips ready to end Liverpool spell

If Feyenoord, Leeds or anyone else can sign Phillips this summer, it will bring an end to his 29-appearance spell as a Liverpool player.

He has only played 69 times in all competitions in his senior career when taking into account his loan spells with Stuttgart and Bournemouth.

Liverpool are believed to be in the market for a new centre-back this summer, which would push Phillips further down the pecking order. He has already struggled to dislodge Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

His best run of games for Liverpool came when Van Dijk, Matip and Gomez were all injured in the second half of the 2020-21 season, prior to Konate’s arrival. But he has only gained a handful of appearances since their recoveries.

Konate has been suggested as a possible target for Napoli recently, where he would replace Kim Min-jae. But that deal seems to be out of reach for the Serie A champions anyway.

Matip is also facing an uncertain future, but none of those rumours indicate a chance of a breakthrough for Phillips. Now, the Bolton-born centre-back must decide whether to continue his career in England or think about moving to the Netherlands.

It will all depend on whether any of his suitors can satisfy Liverpool’s demands.