Premier League boss hands Newcastle United transfer boost as he admits he could sell £42m man to a rival club

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Newcastle are expected to be active in the transfer window after a concerning defeat to Bournemouth

Newcastle United have been handed a key boost ahead of the January transfer window as they look to rectify their current injury crisis. Eddie Howe’s injury-plagued side produced a lacklustre and jaded performance in their most recent defeat to Bournemouth, which will undoubtedly amplify the need for further recruitment in the coming months.

Howe’s men struggled to find the same intensity that they are renowned for during their 2-0 loss at the Vitality Stadium as they coped with injuries to the likes of Sven Botman, Dan Burn, Harvey Barnes, Callum Wilson, Alexander Isak and Jacob Murphy, along with the suspended Bruno Guimaraes and long-term absentee Sandro Tonali.

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An early injury to Miguel Almiron added further salt to the Magpies wounds and they will undoubtedly see the upcoming international break as the ideal chance to regroup and rediscover their form in the Premier League as they head into a busy winter schedule. The international break is likely to be a busy time for Howe and his recruitment team which is spearheaded by ex-Brighton man Dan Ashworth. Central midfield is believed to be a position high on Newcastle’s wishlist given the long-term suspension of summer signing Tonali, who does not return to the first team until the start of next season.

The Magpies are keen to add a deep lying midfielder with experience to fill Tonali’s void and a player heavily linked with a move to St James’ Park is England international Kalvin Phillips of Manchester City. Phillips was once regarded as one of the top defensive midfielders in the Premier League, but has struggled for game time since making the move to the Etihad Stadium.

The 27-year-old has spoken openly of his desire to play more football to ensure his spot at next summer's European Championships in Germany. TeamTalk has previously stated that the Magpies have begun talks with Phillips’ representative over a move, while the likes of Liverpool and Everton have also been linked with the player's services.

While Guardiola did not directly mention Phillips in his most recent interview, he did add further fire to the speculation of a move by claiming he would be happy to sell a player to a direct rival if the deal was right. The Spaniard, who has led City to five Premier League titles, referred to Raheem Sterling as a direct example. Guardiola said he would have 'never ever' stood in the forward's way ahead of his move to Chelsea.

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He said: "From my point of view, I have said this to the club many times. I give my opinion to the club and they decide if the transfer suits for both sides and the player. Why? I think that means you are a small club [if you block a transfer]. Big clubs, they don’t care. They make decisions for the benefit of all three parties, players and both clubs — and the agents sometimes. So really it is not a problem.‌

"If they want to go to Chelsea or [Manchester] United or, I don’t know, Liverpool, whatever. What is the problem? They are happy to be there and the club is happy with the transfer. The other club is happy with the amount of money they spend, so it is fine. Another player will come to us and we keep going in a good spirit and a good mood."

Guardiola’s confidence in his team could be a huge boost to Newcastle’s hopes of landing the midfielder. In the past Guardiola has provided further evidence of this confidence by selling the likes of Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and even Cole Palmer, who is now shining for Premier League rivals Chelsea. 

Phillips has been at Manchester City for 16 months and has so far managed just 21 appearances in all competitions, with the majority of those coming from the subs bench. His only start for City this season came in a 1-0 defeat to the Magpies in the Carabao Cup.

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