Championship outfit AFC Bournemouth are keen to retain Liverpool centre-back Nat Phillips beyond the end of the 2021/22 campaign but face considerable competition in their quest to land the 25-year-old, according to a report from the Liverpool Echo.
The centre-back first arrived at the Vitality Stadium in January as the Cherries looked to bolster their chances of securing a top-two spot and although the likes of Lloyd Kelly and Gary Cahill may have endangered his chances of starting regularly, he has been one of the first names on the teamsheet for Scott Parker.
Recording 16 league appearances, the Welshman has been an integral part of the second-tier side’s success with the south-coast outfit managing to secure their promotion back to the Premier League at the second time of asking earlier this week.
Quiz: Which club did AFC Bournemouth sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?
Unfortunately for the Cherries, there doesn’t seem to be an option in the 25-year-old’s loan agreement to make this deal a permanent one, potentially costly for the promoted side considering he was the subject of interest from others teams including Newcastle United before arriving at the Vitality.
However, Parker looks set to have much more money to play with this summer following their promotion and they have received a further boost with Rhys Williams reportedly set to replace Phillips as Jurgen Klopp’s fifth-choice option at Anfield, potentially allowing the Welshman to move on permanently in the coming months.
As per this same report from the Liverpool Echo though, there is “plenty” of interest in his services and with that, the south-coast side could face a bitter battle in their quest to land him for the long term.
At this stage of his career, Phillips needs regular game time and this is why he would be well-served sealing a longer-term move away from Anfield, even with the potential of getting game time at his parent club next season.
Competing for the quadruple still at this point, Klopp’s side are likely to be in plenty of competitions again next season and this is why the Welshman may be able to get himself on the pitch, potentially for Champions League games.
And it would only take a few injuries for him to be involved in their league campaign – but he won’t start every week and this is why he should be looking to move on because Bournemouth would be able to guarantee him minutes.
Newcastle may also be a good option considering the Magpies are likely to be staying in the top tier for the long term with their new owners potentially pumping plenty of money into Eddie Howe’s transfer budget for the next window and beyond.
However, this spending means they may bring in some top-quality central defenders that could limit Phillips’ game time and this is why a permanent Bournemouth move with a relegation release clause may be the best option for the player to pursue.