There are not favourable signs for Kalvin Phillips. Though he scored his first goal for Manchester City and had a rare Champions League start, three days later he was back to his usual matchday duty as an unutilized replacement.
After City’s defeat at the hands of Palace, Pep Guardiola opted to pair Rodri out of position with the youthful Rico Lewis. Playing a level higher than Phillips would have admittedly, Lewis took his chance and added a goal to his assist from midweek.
Despite his confident penalty in the Champions League against Belgrade, Phillips struggled to prove his manager incorrect after Guardiola stated he couldn’t picture him in his system. His subdued celebration after the match against Red Star revealed that he was aware that it wouldn’t be sufficient to stop any momentum that could lead to his January departure.
Although Newcastle has been linked to the England international, Eddie Howe has kept his team separate from the player despite their need for a holding midfielder due to Sandro Tonali’s suspension. However, Phillips moving to a Premier League opponent would present a possible problem for City since it would bolster a rival at a time when they have few options in the race for the championship.
As much as City still has their sights set on winning the championship, giving Newcastle an advantage could work against them. By the time they play in the league again, they might be in sixth place, where they are now ranked. City is aware that keeping a watch on things is the greatest strategy for moving back up into the top four.
They must also resolve the Phillips matter. There don’t seem to be many realistic prospects for Phillips to receive a run of games after Christmas, despite Guardiola’s insistence that he will keep the midfield player in his squad if no deal is made. He needs those consistent minutes if he hopes to make England’s selection for Euro 2024, as he stated himself.
If Juventus is sincere, he might be able to revive his career without being compared to City in the Premier League by moving completely out of the spotlight. With no distractions from Europe, he can concentrate on the Serie A title fight and resume playing frequently. Given what has transpired at City, he would have to deal with the scrutiny of the media and supporters scrutinising his every action if he stayed in the Premier League.
It will take time to determine whether Juventus’ interest in Italy is genuine or merely rhetorical. For Phillips and City, however, the idea of a short-term Premier League exit would be advantageous to everyone.