Agent fields foreign enquiry, as race to sign Liverpool man Klopp loves intensifies

Date published: Thursday 22nd July 2021 8:07 - Samuel Bannister

Nat.Phillips.Liverpool.TEAMtalk

Bayer Leverkusen have told the agent of Liverpool defender Nat Phillips that they would be interested in taking him back to Germany, according to reports.

Phillips returned to Liverpool last summer after a loan spell with Stuttgart in the German second tier. He would not have been expecting to play a big role back on Merseyside, but he ended up becoming a key man. Following injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Phillips stepped up more than anyone else.

In total, he made 20 appearances in all competitions and won the club’s Player of the Month award for March 2021.

However, his time with Liverpool may be coming to an end. The three senior centre-backs whose absences led to his opportunity are all returning from their setbacks. What’s more, the club have signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig to reinforce the position.

At the age of 24, Phillips knows he may have to look elsewhere. He has several suitors in the Premier League, most notably Brighton, who see him as a potential replacement for the Arsenal-bound Ben White.

Down to fifth choice in the pecking order, Phillips could be allowed to leave, with reports suggesting Jurgen Klopp would reluctantly say thank you and goodbye to him.

However, his destination may not be in the Premier League after all. According to Sky Sports News, Phillips is in demand back in Germany, as Bayer Leverkusen are interested.

But their pursuit may be a non-starter, because no bid has been made. Meanwhile, they are closing in on the signing of a different defender, Odilon Kossounou.

While the possibility of a Bundesliga move is still lingering, staying in England seems more likely for Phillips. In addition to backing up Brighton’s interest, Sky say West Ham, Newcastle and Burnley are all other suitors.

However, they would only move for the Bolton-born player if they sell one of their centre-backs first.

Nat Phillips, Liverpool stand-in hero

Phillips will cost around £15m if someone signs him from Liverpool this summer. It still seems like Brighton is the most likely destination, but he clearly has earned plenty of admirers.

Phillips partner set for Prem move

Another player who was important for Liverpool in the second half of last season was Ozan Kabak, who signed on loan from Schalke.

However, they declined the opportunity to sign him permanently, leaving the Turkey international needing to find a new home.

Schalke suffered a rare relegation last season, meaning they are likely to sell Kabak for a cut-price fee.

His destination could be back in the Premier League, where he has been linked with Palace, Newcastle and Leicester.

Reports earlier this month suggested that Leicester were leading the race for his signature. However, according to The Guardian, he is in fact not a target for them.

Instead, it is claimed that Palace are now in talks over the possibility of signing the Schalke centre-half.

However, they face competition from unnamed clubs in Germany and Spain. There is no mention of Newcastle within the report.

Kabak could cost somewhere between £10m and £12m, which seems like a shrewd investment for a 21-year-old with some Premier League – and Champions League – experience.

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