Pep Guardiola drops Kalvin Phillips transfer hint amid Newcastle United links
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The January transfer window is fast approaching on Tyneside and Newcastle United’s scouting team are once again preparing for what looks to be another busy month of recruitment.
Newcastle’s first season back in the Champions League for 20 years has seen them record an historic victory over French champions PSG, as well as impressive wins over Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United (twice) and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. Along with a record breaking 8-0 away victory against Sheffield United in the Premier league.
As starts go, the Magpies can certainly be happy with the majority of their performances as they find themselves seventh in the table and in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup. However, the added challenges of European football along with an immensely challenging cup run has shown signs of taking its toll on the team and with an avalanche of injury problems, Howe has had limited options to choose from one the pitch.
A number of areas have been affected, but none more than the central midfield due to the length of summer singing Sandro Tonali’s betting suspension which rules him out for the rest of the season. Injuries to Elliot Anderson, Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff haven’t helped the cause and the need for a central midfielder is quickly becoming a priority.
The obvious option at present appears to be England international and Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips who has been tipped for a move to the North East for several months due to his lack of first team football at the Etihad.
Phillips was a club icon at Leeds United who spearheaded the club to promotion and a top half finish, whilst captaining the team for several years. At international level he was a stalwart in England’s road to a first ever European Championship final at the last tournament and is hoping to have a similar impact this time around.
Phillips has been limited to just 89 minutes of action this season across four appearances and has been limited to just 16 appearances all together in his 18 months as a City player. As speculation grows about the prospect of a departure, his manager Pep Guardiola was asked for his thoughts on the player’s future, which make interesting reading for Newcastle fans.
Guardiola admitted: "I visualise the team and I struggle to see him."
The ex-Barcelona icon also claimed that he “feels sorry for” Phillips and added that his attitude and application has been very admirable. In an earlier interview, Guardiola also stated that he would have no objection to selling one of his first team players to a rival club, if the move was right for the club.
Last month, he told the Daily Mail: “Big clubs make decisions for the benefit of all three parties. If a player wants to go to Chelsea or [Manchester] United or Liverpool, what is the problem if they are happy to be there and we are happy with the transfer? Another player comes here and we keep going with a good spirit.”
Newcastle face a hectic period of six games before the start of the January transfer window. If they were to complete the deal early in the month any new signings could make their debut in the Tyne-Wear Derby against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light due to the recent FA Cup draw.