NEWCASTLE UNITED will press ahead with a January move for Kalvin Phillips, having been buoyed by Pep Guardiola’s insistence that he is not afraid to lose a player to a Premier League rival.

With their squad having been ravaged by injuries and suspensions, the Magpies will attempt to be as active as possible when the transfer window reopens at the turn of the year.

The acquisition of a new central-midfielder is a key priority, with Sandro Tonali not due to return from suspension until the start of next season and Elliot Anderson struggling with a long-term back problem that could sideline him until well into the new year.

With Newcastle’s summer spending having taken them close to the limits permitted under the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play regulations, the club’s recruitment team accept they will have to be creative if they are to add experienced players to the ranks in January.

Ideally, they would prefer to make permanent additions if possible, but a season-long loan for Phillips is regarded as an attractive option, potentially with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer.

Newcastle inquired about Phillips’ potential availability in the summer, but the England international opted to remain at the Etihad Stadium in order to fight for a regular place in Manchester City’s starting line-up.


Things have not gone to plan in the first three months of the campaign, with Phillips yet to make a single Premier League start despite his fellow central-midfielders, Rodri and John Stones, having been unavailable at various points.

Phillips was an unused substitute as City drew 4-4 with Chelsea at the weekend, and while he has been named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this week’s matches against Malta and North Macedonia, his place at next summer’s Euros finals in Germany could well be at risk if his domestic involvement levels do not increase in the second half of the season.

Since their Saudi Arabia-backed takeover, Newcastle have found that a number of Premier League clubs have become much more reluctant to do transfer business with them.

However, when Guardiola was quizzed about Cole Palmer’s move to Chelsea at the weekend, he insisted City would be displaying a ‘small-club mentality’ if they refused to loan or sell a player just because it might strengthen one of their Premier League rivals.

“Would I stop a player from joining a rival? Never, ever,” he said. “I give my opinion to the club, and they decide if the transfer suits both sides and the player. Why? I think (blocking a move) means you are a small club. Big clubs, they don’t (care), they make decisions for the benefit of all three parties – players and both clubs, and agents sometimes.

“Really, it is not a problem. They want to go to Chelsea, United, Liverpool whoever. What is the problem? They are happy to be there, the club is happy with the transfer and the other club is happy with the amount of money they spend. It is fine.”