Kalvin Phillips is perfect for Brighton but West Ham and Everton are favourites for January move
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The former Leeds United man needs minutes on the pitch ahead of Euro 2024 and it's increasingly clear he will not receive that from pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
Phillips, 27, has barely featured this season and the final straw may have arrived last week when 18-year-old Rico Lewis was selected ahead of him for a Champions League clash at RB Leipzig in Rodri's absence and also in the 1-0 loss at Arsenal.
Manchester City were open to letting Phillips leave last summer but it is believed the player wanted to stay and prove his worth following his £42m move from Elland Road in 2022.
Offers are expected once again in January and it could be something Brighton explore on loan basis. The central midfield area continues to be a concern for head coach Roberto De Zerbi, following the summer exits of Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo to Liverpool and Chelsea respectively.
James Milner, Mo Dahoud and Carlos Baleba have all be drafted in to help fill the void. Milner, 37, is currently injured and Dahoud is a technically gifted but perhaps lacks the physicality and bite required week in, week out in the Premier League. Baleba is a raw talent and played well in an open game against Liverpool but De Zerbi stated after the Carabao Cup loss to Chelsea that his £20m summer signing is not quite ready for the first team.
Jakub Moder is expected to return from injury at some stage but the Poland international has not played for more than a year with a serious knee injury. Quite how much he can play and how he recovers remains unclear.
The Seagulls are though unlikely to pay a hefty fee for Phillips – it's not their way to part with large money for a 27-year-old – but a loan could make sense, especially if Brighton qualify for the later stages of the Europa League and are pushing for top four or top six in the Premier.
It would provide Brighton with experience and much needed cover in that vital area of the pitch and also give Phillips the chance to play top level football ahead of the Euros. Everton, who are set for a takeover from the 777 Partners, and West Ham could also make their case to Phillips in January, who may just feel the time is right to leave the Etihad.