Arsenal target Man City midfielder in major January upgrade as star admits he’s ‘been unhappy’ at Guardiola treatment

Manc City midfielder Kalvin Phillips is a January target for Arsenal

Kalvin Phillips is a January target for Arsenal

Arsenal are reportedly plotting a January raid on Manchester City for frustrated midfielder Kalvin Phillips – with the player admitting for the first time he has been unhappy at his lack of minutes under Pep Guardiola and that he now faces a make-or-break period at the Etihad.

The 27-year-old England star moved to the Etihad in a £42m switch from boyhood club Leeds in summer 2022. However, with Rodri enjoying the form of his career as City won an historic Treble, Phillips found himself facing a lack of minutes with his new employers.

Indeed, he clocked up just 291 minutes of action in the Premier League last season, with only another 39 in the Champions League. And with just four starts to his name since signing, he has seen the same number of starts for his country in the same period.

With a lack of minutes though ultimately likely to put his place in the England side in some jeopardy, Phillips had the opportunity to secure a summer move away from the club.

Indeed, Liverpool were strongly linked with his signature, while Newcastle and Bayern Munich were also reportedly sniffing around amid claims the player was to be given the chance to leave.

However, despite the summer signings of both Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes, Phillips opted to stay put with Guardiola making it clear he left the decision in the player’s hands.

“We talked with him and the club with the chance to maybe go on loan because he did not have a lot of minutes,” Guardiola said.

“But he decided ‘no, I want to stay’. He is more than welcome.”

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Arsenal join chase for Kalvin Phillips

Guardiola continued: “As a good guy who accepts everything and stays, they are welcome. When we finish the transfer window, every player here is part of the family and are going to help.”

Since then, though, Phillips has played just 52 minutes of football for City this season.

As a result, reports in Spain claim Arsenal are seriously considering a January approach for Phillips amid a belief the time may now be right for the player to move on.

To that end, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta would see Phillips as a perfect long-term replacement for Jorginho, who has struggled himself of late and came in for some strong criticism after being robbed too easily of possession for Tottenham’s second equaliser in Sunday’s North London derby that finished in a 2-2 draw.

Phillips, however, appears determined to give his City career one more push. And the player is now finally hoping for a regular run of games, with the City midfield now without the services of Rodri for three matches following his red card against Nottingham Forest and also without Kevin De Bruyne and Kovacic to injury.

As a result, Phillips knows it is now or never for him at the Etihad, having admitted for the first time that he’s been unhappy at his lack of minutes under Guardiola.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Newcastle, Phillips admitted: “Yeah, this is probably the biggest week or so in my Man City career so far. It’s something I’m looking forward to and I’m ready for it.”

Phillips determined to take his Man City chance

Opportunities for Phillips to leave did arrive with his agent over the summer.

However, in admitting for the first time he’s been “unhappy” at his lack of minutes, he has been determined to dig in and prove he’s more than capable of finding a regular place in Guardiola’s side.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m all about,” he told the Daily Mirror. “I’m not going to have just one season at City and just because I’m not playing say, ‘oh well, I’ve been here for a year and enjoyed it, but it’s not for me’.

“I want to try and break my way into the team even though it’s very difficult. I want to try and make a name for myself at Manchester City. That’s the reason I came. I didn’t come here to just to sit on the bench and be happy doing nothing. I want to continue in some way and hopefully I can do that.

“There have been times last season, this season, where I’ve been very unhappy, but it’s all been an experience for me, growing as a person and a player. When I came in for pre-season, I said I wanted to stay and give it another shot.

“In previous years a lot of players have done well second season and I had a talk with the club and they said that if I wanted to go out on loan, they would be happy for me to do that.

“I just said no, it’s not something I was thinking of. I just wanted to concentrate on playing for Manchester City so, yeah, that was the end of it.”

After Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Newcastle, City then face Wolves at Molineux on Saturday, RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a trip to Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday October 8.

It really is now or never for Phillips at City.

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