Following a successful half-season loan at Bournemouth, in which he helped seal promotion, Nat Phillips has set his sights on “playing regularly” again next term.
Phillips joined the Cherries in the closing stages of the January transfer window, and immediately settled into a first-choice role in Scott Parker’s side.
The 25-year-old became regular partner to Lloyd Kelly, playing the full 90 minutes in 17 of a possible 18 games in the Championship, as Bournemouth secured their place back in the Premier League.
Parker has already expressed a desire to retain Phillips beyond the end of his loan, and it would certainly make sense for the centre-back to extend his stay at Dean Court.
Speaking to the Bournemouth Echo, Phillips said his priority will be “playing regularly” again next season, suggesting he is open to a long-term move to Bournemouth.
The Express‘ Tony Banks has claimed that talks are underway between Liverpool and the promoted club, with a deal to likely to be worth around £8 million.
However, talkSPORT’s Alex Crook has stressed that negotiations are yet to begin – which is understandable, given the focus at present is on the Premier League title race along with Champions League and FA Cup finals.
Outgoing sporting director Michael Edwards built a strong relationship with Bournemouth, but he is now set to pass his duties on to Julian Ward this summer.
Ward has, though, taken a focal role in transfer discussions in recent months, which will have included Phillips’ loan.
With Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez ahead of him, it is unlikely that Phillips will return as part of Liverpool’s first-team squad; as it stands, it seems more feasible that Sepp van den Berg takes the fifth-choice spot.
And with the club in a great position to cash in and allow their No. 47 to establish himself at a new club, all signs point to a potential transfer to Bournemouth.
“It’s been brilliant. I’ve loved every minute of it,” Phillips said of his time under Parker.
He later added: “I want to continue playing regularly, week in, week out. Ideally in the Premier League.
“So we’ll see what happens in the summer.
“I can’t rule anything out. But ultimately it comes down to, it’s not just me. There’s various conversations that need to be had involving Bournemouth, Liverpool and whoever.
“So up until now we’ve been concentrating on just getting the job at hand done.
“Now that’s done, obviously Liverpool still have a few games left and a few big, important games left in their season to play. But we’ll see what happens in the summer.”