Pep Guardiola has revealed that if England midfielder Kalvin Phillips leaves, Manchester City may need to look for a successor in January.
Phillips, 28, is poised to quit the Etihad next month in pursuit of regular first-team action after failing to break into Guardiola’s starting lineup in the 18 months after his £42 million move from Leeds.
While Guardiola said he was not thinking about the January transfer window, that may alter if City are short on numbers in midfield, where they have suffered when their regular enforcer Rodri is away due to injury or suspension.
“Right now, I don’t have anything on my mind,” Guardiola admitted. “It depends on whether or not they leave.” Some players stay, while others go. It depends on the roster, on young players, and whether you can rely on them in certain situations.”
Only last week, Guardiola appeared to affirm Phillips’ inability to turn things around at City, stating, “I visualise the team and I struggle a little bit to see him (in it).”
Several clubs have expressed interest in signing the Yorkshireman in January.
When asked explicitly about Phillips’ condition, Guardiola responded, “Kalvin is a player with us, I don’t want to anticipate absolutely anything.” Everyone is aware of his predicament.
“It depends on whether or not it occurs.” If this occurs, we will discuss it. The market in January is difficult…We still have fantastic things to play for after we make our decision.”
After winning the treble last season, City will compete in the Club World Cup for the first time next week.
After Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace, the club will fly to Saudi Arabia, with both Erling Haaland and the injured Kevin De Bruyne expected to travel regardless of whether they will be fit to play.
“It’s a competition we have never won, everyone will be there,” Guardiola told the press.
“I want the players to play two games, win the first one, and then get the credit to play in the final.” If we don’t win it, we’ll be back in the Champions League in the future. Do what we have to do in two football games.
“In the past, we learned from the Champions League.” You never know what will happen in life… the determination, the sensation we’ve never won, it’s crucial. Winning contributes to winning. Winning against Palace will be really beneficial.”
As tempting as the reward on offer next week is, Guardiola cautioned against looking ahead beyond Saturday’s game.
“This is my job, I will warn (the players) or let them know,” he went on to say. “It’s always been difficult with Roy (Hodgson) or Patrick (Vieira) in the past, and Crystal Palace have always been problematic.
“Everyone has to be involved in order to play quickly, be patient, transitions, set-pieces, good on second balls, and the physicality is incredible.” We are always struggling.
“At Selhurst Park, it’s normal, but we perform better than at the Etihad.” It happened, we lost a lot of points, they’re incredibly good at it.”