Liverpool are set to recall Rhys Williams from his loan spell at Swansea, with the Reds expecting Nat Phillips to leave the club before the end of the transfer window.
Williams, 20, has seen opportunities limited since joining the Championship club on deadline day in August. The centre-back has made only seven appearances in all competitions, and is expected to return to Merseyside this week.
That would pave the way for Phillips’ exit. The 24-year-old is keen to secure regular first-team football and is attracting interest from a host of clubs.
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Who is in for Phillips?
Liverpool, GOAL can reveal, turned down an offer from Watford for Phillips earlier this month.
The Hornets wanted to take the former Bolton man on loan until the end of the season, with an obligation to make the move permanent should they avoid relegation.
Liverpool though are keen for a straight sale, and they are insisting their valuation of £15 million ($20m) is fair.
Serie A side Napoli were another side to express interest, but instead chose to sign Axel Tuanzebe on loan from Manchester United, while West Ham are long-term admirers but would prefer to sign a centre-back capable of providing additional cover on the left if possible.
Burnley may be a possibility, should Newcastle firm up their interest in James Tarkowski, while Phillips also has suitors in the Bundesliga.
The defender, who played a key role in securing Champions League qualification for Liverpool last season, has this week returned to full contact training following the fractured cheekbone he suffered against AC Milan in the San Siro last month.
Phillips has played three times for the first-team this season.
What about Williams?
Williams, like Phillips, had a big role to play in Liverpool’s run to a top-four finish last term.
The Academy product made 19 appearances in all competitions last season, including nine in the Premier League, and had hoped to play regularly when joining Swansea at the end of the summer window.
However he has started just five games since, the last of which came against Middlesbrough on December 4, and Liverpool believe his development would be best served back training with Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad and providing cover as fifth-choice centre-back until the end of the season.
The Reds have already recalled another youngster, midfielder Leighton Clarkson, from a loan spell at Blackburn, and could do the same with striker Paul Glatzel, who has featured infrequently in League Two with Tranmere.