Liverpool rejects transfer offer for forgotten man who hasn't featured for over a year

A bid for a Liverpool cult hero has been rejected as Arne Slot and the Reds' recruitment chiefs made a key decision
-Credit: (Image: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool's transfer chiefs have rebuffed an offer for fringe star Nat Phillips, with Turkish club Trabzonspor having failed to meet the Merseysiders' valuation of the defender.

The 27-year-old center back is attracting interest from the seven-time Super Lig champions as he enters the final year of his contract at Anfield. According to The Athletic, the player also has admirers at Championship side Burnley, with newly-installed head coach Scott Parker having worked with him during a loan spell at Bournemouth previously.

Alongside the aforementioned temporary stay with the Cherries, Phillips has also spent loan spells with Stuttgart, Celtic and Cardiff City in recent years. In total, he has made 29 senior appearances for the Reds, with the bulk of these outings coming as a back-up option during the 2020-21 season as he deputized for Virgil van Dijk during an injury crisis in the team's backline.

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The academy graduate featured on 20 occasions across that campaign and also has earned cult hero status on the Kop for his gutsy displays - including a masterclass in a 2–1 victory over AC Milan at San Siro in 2021-22. However, since then, he has found first-team action hard to come by at Liverpool.

His most recent appearances for the Reds came in the 2022-23 campaign and he spent last season with Celtic and Cardiff City- managing 26 outings in total during the season. With a reported $10 million (£8m) price tag placed on his head, it remains to be seen whether Phillips has already played his last game for the club.

Speaking after his recent stay in South Wales came to a close at the end of last term, he admitted that he had enjoyed his stay with the Bluebirds. He acknowledged that he was not ruling out signing a permanent deal, saying: "I'd certainly consider [a return to Cardiff]. I've enjoyed my time here, I've enjoyed playing regularly. I want to continue playing regular football and enjoying my football.

Nat Phillips has been a fringe player at Liverpool for a number of years but may have played his last game for the club
Nat Phillips has been a fringe player at Liverpool for a number of years but may have played his last game for the club -Credit:Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

"Any time you move clubs, a lot is up in the air. I've done it a few times with loans, so I would say I'm more accustomed to it than some people are. I know how to do it. I know Cardiff now and I've done that. I have loved living here and my partner has enjoyed it here as well, which is obviously important because it means your home life is a lot easier."

Previously, ex-Reds manager Jurgen Klopp spoke in glowing terms about the defender's qualities, telling Match of The Day: "He's a brilliant guy, smart guy, intelligent, everything. He's not easy on the eye, he's not Messi but who cares? In the air, he's a monster! He was incredible.

The German's successor Arne Slot has confirmed that he will be working with Liverpool's sporting director Richard Hughes when it comes to transfer dealings this summer. He said: "Me and Richard [Hughes, sporting director] are going to work together when it comes to transfers but not only the two of us – there is a big backroom staff included in this as well.

“I think for me it is the way I have worked always and it for me is the ideal way of working because I can use the most of my time by working with the team and the time that is left will probably be a bit for the family and a bit to talk with Richard about how we can strengthen the team. But we already have a really strong team.”