An update has emerged regarding Newcastle’s interest in Liverpool defender Nat Phillips.
What’s the talk?
According to James Pearce of The Athletic, the Magpies have been in contact with the Reds over a potential deal for the centre-back this month. Newcastle, Southampton, Brighton, Burnley, Bournemouth, Celtic and Sheffield United are all said to be showing varying degrees of interest in the defender.
Liverpool are looking for a fee in the region of £12m-£15m and will not stand in his way if he wants to leave. It remains to be seen whether or not Newcastle are willing to match their valuation.
Is Phillips better than Lascelles?
Better than Lascelles
Steve Bruce must sanction a deal for Phillips this summer as he could come in and improve the defence ahead of next season. The centre-back caught the eye when given a chance by the Reds last term and showed enough to suggest that he could thrive for a club further down the table such as Newcastle.
He could come in and be an upgrade on club captain Jamaal Lascelles. The Magpies skipper played 19 times in the Premier League last season and averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.60 whilst winning 2.5 aerial battles and making 4.4 clearances per game. He also averaged fewer than one tackle and one interception per game, which shows that there could be scope for the club to bring in a better player in his position.
Meanwhile, Phillips played 17 games in the top flight and averaged a sensational WhoScored rating of 7.29 for Liverpool. He won 5.6 aerial battles and made 4.8 clearances per game, whilst also making 1.3 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per match.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was effusive in his praise of the “unbelievable” 24-year-old earlier this year. He told Goal.com: “Nat Phillips is just an exceptional career so far, with all the things he did in the past and what he thought about and where he was and all these things.
“Now playing for Liverpool in the Champions League, Premier League, winning games, winning challenges.
“[He will have] probably the best heading statistics in the history of the Premier League I could imagine at least, it is unbelievable what the boy is doing there, and on top of that playing good football.”
These comments and the comparison of the statistics between the pair suggest that Phillips would be a significant improvement on Lascelles in Newcastle’s defence. He has been able to perform to a much higher standard than the former Nottingham Forest man whilst playing in the same division.
Therefore, Bruce must work hard in the final weeks of the window to secure a deal for the Liverpool centre-back in order to strengthen his squad.
AND in other news, Bye-bye Hayden: NUFC must sanction swoop for “perfect” £24k-p/w powerhouse…