Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have entered the race for Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, a new report has claimed.
City paid an initial £42m to sign Phillips from Leeds United in 2022 but the 28-year-old has been restricted to under 1,000 minutes of club football in the 18 months since, including just six starts across all competitions.
Several Premier League sides have voiced an interest in taking Phillips on loan for the remainder of the season, but according to The Telegraph, they may have to fend off competition from La Liga giants Barcelona and Atletico.
Being available on loan is of clear appeal to cash-strapped Barcelona, although The Guardian state that City are holding out for a fee of £7m to let Phillips leave on a six-month deal.
Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Newcastle United are all said to be chasing Phillips, who is seeking a guarantee of regular football for the remainder of the season in the hope of earning a spot in England’s squad for Euro 2024.
Just whether the La Liga sides could provide Phillips with the minutes he is searching for is unclear. Barcelona are looking for midfield reinforcements following Gavi’s nasty knee injury but already have Frenkie de Jong, Ilkay Gundogan and Pedri as their starting trio, with summer signing Oriol Romeu and young Fermin Lopez operating as cover.
Atletico, who usually play a three-man midfield, are limited for numbers in that area of the pitch, boasting just four natural midfielders alongside Marcos Llorente, who plays plenty of his minutes as a right wing-back. But Phillips would likely not be guaranteed a starting role in Diego Simeone’s side.
Remaining closer to home with a Premier League outfit could provide Phillips with the assurances he seeks, with a final decision on his future expected in the coming week.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson recently confirmed his desire to make Phillips a regular starter but acknowledged the finances behind the scenes could render a move impossible.
“I would like to think that if Kalvin Phillips is available and a possibility for the club – once again, there will be financial restrictions, who knows whether the club feels they will be able to afford that – but if you’re talking about the level of player, I don’t feel there will be many managers who would not say ‘yeah, we will be really happy to have him come to the club’,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a name that’s out there. All we know, like most other clubs, is that there is a possibility that Manchester City will either sell him or loan him.
“If they are purely going to sell him, then I don’t think we will be in the market. If they’re going to loan him, I would like to think that we could possibly put our hand up and push ourselves forward.
“What we could then of course offer is the chance to play regular football in the Premier League in the build-up to what will be a very important summer for England and for him.
“We might not be the only club in that position, so at the end of the day, a lot will have to happen before we find out where Kalvin Phillips is going to end up if he’s going to go anywhere.”
What we know
- Phillips is expected to leave City after struggling for minutes
- Midfielder has loan interest from across the Premier League
- La Liga duo have now joined the race for 28-year-old’s signature.