NEWCASTLE UNITED are ready to make a quick January move for Kalvin Phillips if the England international decides it is time to leave Manchester City at the turn of the year.

While Newcastle are unlikely to be bringing in a host of new signings when the transfer window reopens, Eddie Howe has identified defensive-midfield as a position he would ideally like to strengthen.

The club-record signing of Sandro Tonali bolstered the Magpies’ attacking-midfield options in the summer, but while the club are reasonably well-stocked numerically in the central area, the vast majority of their central-midfielders want to get on the front foot and break forward.

Bruno Guimaraes has been playing as the deepest-lying of Newcastle’s three midfielders in the opening two months of the season, but although the Brazilian has performed impressively in the role, it is not really his ideal position.

In an ideal world, Guimaraes would be playing slightly higher up the pitch, with a more naturally-defensive presence behind him. The Magpies looked into the possibility of signing Declan Rice in the summer, only for Arsenal’s willingness to shell out more than £100m on the West Ham star to bring their interest to an end, but Phillips has always been regarded as an attractive alternative.


The 27-year-old was viewed as one of the best defensive-midfielders in Europe when he joined Manchester City from Leeds United in the summer of 2022, but in the space of almost one-and-a-half seasons, he has made just two Premier League starts for the reigning champions.

In the summer, he opted to remain at the Etihad in order to fight for a place in Pep Guardiola’s side, but his fortunes have not improved and there is a good chance he will finally opt to move on in January.

If that happens, Newcastle’s recruitment team will be ready to strike in the hope of setting up either a permanent transfer or an initial loan deal, with a view to a possible permanent move next summer. Phillips joined City for £42m when he left Leeds, signing a six-year deal in Manchester.