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Opinion

Newcastle United foolish not to sign ‘open goal’ Kalvin Phillips – Maybe not

2 weeks ago
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Kalvin Phillips headed to West Ham late in the transfer window.

Some Newcastle United fans were furious / hysterical that the Manchester City midfielder hadn’t arrived at St James’ Park instead.

These NUFC supporters seeing it as an open goal, Newcastle United with Tonali missing the rest of the season and Joelinton likely to end up the same, along with all the other injury issues in the squad.

It was ridiculous apparently, that Newcastle hadn’t signed Kalvin Phillips, an England international available on loan, how stupid (according to them) that the club couldn’t see what an obvious signing this was.

The fact that the loan deal would have cost over half a million pounds per game in combined loan fee and wages, that didn’t make any difference, surely worth it they said if he makes the difference, gets us these extra points / wins.

Newcastle United so desperate for some short-term quality in midfield, especially defensively, this was a massive own goal by NUFC according to the critical fans.

The fact that for 20 months, Kalvin Phillips had only started two Premier League matches wasn’t a red flag for the critics. Even these two starts given by Pep Guardiola were both in the final week of the 2022/23 PL season AFTER Manchester City had already won the title.

Surely you would have massive concerns at taking somebody with less than four months of the season to go, just how effective could / would he be after so little football, how long to get up to speed?

We had seen with our own eyes when Kalvin Phillips got a very rare start in the League Cup match at St James’ Park, he looked really poor to me and nothing about what I saw said to me this was some brilliant obvious loan deal that simply had to happen.

Fair to say that by their own standards, Manchester City had dipped in the first half of the season, failing to win seven of their 19 PL matches and ‘only’ third in the table. Yet even with his team’s clear dip in form and having at times a significant number of injuries to deal with, Pep Guardiola STILL hadn’t called on Kalvin Phillips.

The midfielder named in all of the first 19 Premier League matchday squads this season but not starting a single one of them, only getting 89 minutes in four brief PL sub appearances.

So, in a deal that would have seen Newcastle United throwing the best part of £10m down a very deep hole for a player who wouldn’t be their asset once the loan ended, are NUFC going to be shown up as having made a massive blunder on Kalvin Phillips?

Well, who knows? What I do know though, is the evidence so far definitely doesn’t point to that.

Kalvin Phillips made his West Ham debut against Bournemouth and within five minutes gifted them the lead, diverting the ball into his own box for the goalscorer. He had a poor match as the Hammers managed a draw against a Cherries team now struggling.

Then despite all of West Ham’s problems, especially in midfield, with form and injuries, Kalvin Phillips was then instantly dropped and only came on at Old Trafford for the final 18 minutes with West Ham already 2-0 down, losing 3-0 in the end.

Surely a game where a quality defensive midfielder was needed?

On Sunday, left out again, West Ham 4-0 down to Arsenal and Kalvin Phillips introduced after half-time, losing 6-0 at home in the end.

In the meantime, Newcastle have won three and drawn the other game in their last four matches and are on a rn of four away victories in a row.

Not saying everything is suddenly perfect BUT Kalvin Phillips was not the answer.

West Ham only have 14 Premier League matches left, they haven’t won any of their seven games (all competitions) in 2024, it sounds like if many of the Hammers fans get their way, David Moyes will be leaving even before Phillips’ loan spell is up!

I think that absolutely all the benefits of any Kalvin Phillips loan deal were heading the way of Manchester City (and Gareth Southgate, who has a fixation with Kalvin Phillips, the same as with Jordan Henderson and others), not whichever club would end up taking him on.

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