With a move for alleged top target Kristoffer Ajer hanging in the balance, it’s been reported by several outlets that Steve Bruce has identified Liverpool’s Nat Phillips as a back-up option as he looks to sign a new centre-back.
The Sun’s Alan Nixon reported earlier this month that Bruce was lining up a loan bid for the 24-year-old who’d stepped in admirably at Anfield across the 2020/21 season, however it’s emerged today that Liverpool are looking to sell – and not on the cheap.
A new report from The Athletic claims that the Reds will demand £15m for the defender and have already received interest from Burnley.
Considering Bruce’s budget is rumoured to be around ‘£12m plus player sales’ should Mike Ashley fail to win his legal battle against the Premier League, it’s hard to imagine us paying this sort of money for Phillips – especially when our top priority appears to be an expensive permanent deal for Joe Willock.
The Athletic also report that we’re refusing to be drawn into a ‘bidding war’ for Kristoffer Ajer – who is expected to leave Celtic for around £6-8m now he’s entered the final 12 months of his current deal at Parkhead.
If we’re reluctant to pay much more than £8m for our so-called ‘top target’, it’s fair to say Phillips will be a non-starter if Liverpool refuse to loan him out and push for a £15m fee instead.
We need a new centre-back this summer and to refresh and ageing department in danger of going stale, but it feels like takeover uncertainty, our reluctance to commit to early deals and Bruce’s limited budget is holding us back.