Newcastle United chief holds talks with ex-Leeds star as Pep Guardiola refuses to rule out move

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Newcastle are keen to sign a midfielder as they face up to a potential Sandro Tonali suspension

Newcastle United have reportedly opened talks with out-of-favour Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips as they look to seek cover for summer signing Sandro Tonali.

Tonali is currently the subject of an investigation by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in relation to illegal betting activity. Newcastle are supporting the player and are awaiting further details on a potential outcome. Tonali is free to play for the club and is available for the fixture against Crystal Palace while he awaits a verdict in his case.

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TeamTalk reports claim that Newcastle’s Sporting Director Dan Ashworth is leading the charge to try and bring in urgent cover to replace their record signing and a meeting has taken place between Ashworth and Phillips’ agency CAA Stellar. Phillips has struggled for first team football since making the move to Manchester City last summer and has made just 15 first team appearances in the Premier League since August 2022.

The 27-year-olds frustration has been amplified in recent weeks as he was left on the bench for a crucial game against Arsenal. Speaking after England’ international match with Italy, Phillips commented on his lack of game time. He said: “As a football player you always want to be playing, I want to be playing as much as possible but I haven’t done that for a year and a half. I always try and make sure I am ready for whatever comes. I want minutes, I want to go to the Euros. We will see what happens.”

Gareth Southgate himself expressed the importance of Phillips getting first team football to ensure his Euros place. He added: “Ideally, we would love to have everyone playing regularly.”

Phillips’ existing deal with Manchester City takes him until the summer of 2027, but many reports have hinted at interest from a number of clubs such as Newcastle, Everton and Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola has failed to rule out a move for Phillips in his most recent interview. He said: “Not a conversation I’ve had. Transfer window is over, we are here together. When we need a game when it’s transitions or something with chaos, Kalvin is perfect. Until winter he will be here and after I don’t know what will happen with Kalvin, with more or any players."

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What would Kalvin Phillips bring to Newcastle United?

Kalvin Phillips has struggled with injury over the last 18 months and has barely featured for Manchester City. However, he remains an active part of Southgate’s England team and is often a regular squad member for the Three Lions. Phillips won the trust of Southgate in 2020 after an impressive run of form for Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa.

Phillips was an imperative part of the Leeds team which won the Championship title and he remained an asset for the club in their opening two seasons in the top-flight as they avoided the drop. During the European Championships in 2021, the Yorkshireman established himself as a stalwart for England and helped his nation to an unprecedented Euro final. Phillips was credited for his ability to break up play and dictate the midfield - allowing more advanced players like Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane to flourish.

Phillips’ role in the middle is similar to that of Tonali and if he was to arrive it could act as a catalyst to allow Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes to get forward more and press opposition players. He is also known for his vast energy levels and stamina from playing in a high intensity Bielsa system and his experience could offer valuable to Newcastle as they look to rotate the team through the challenges of European and Premier League football.

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