Cardiff City are locked in a three-way battle with Newcastle United and Middlesbrough over the transfer of Matt Phillips from West Brom. The Bluebirds are ready to nab him for £11m but might have to beat out the competition first. Albion are expected to sell following their relegation to the EFL Championship.
Phillips appeared in 33 games for the Baggies last term and contributed with 3 goals and 3 assists. He is coming off what has only been his second season at the Hawthorns with a contract set to run until the summer of 2020.
West Brom signed him from Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2016 for £5.5m. The winger featured in 94 games for QPR and scored on 18 occasions. Prior to his time at Loftus Road, he had spent time with Wycombe Wanderers and Blackpool.
Phillips started out in the Wycombe youth ranks before the Seasiders brought him to the club in the summer of 2010. With 10 youth level caps for England, Phillips was being promoted as a highly rated talent and was heavily recruited by then-Blackpool manager, Ian Holloway.
The 27-year-old spent a season out on loan with Sheffield United before really hitting his stride at Bloomfield Road. He has over 100 caps to his name for the League One outfit and 18 goals and 15 assists to go along with.
No matter how high he was rated as a youngster, it is fair to say that Phillips has failed to live up to his potential. He has the pace and passing ability to be lethal from wide positions but lacks the consistency to be among the A-grade athletes.
Gifted with a brilliant right foot, Phillips enjoys playing out wide and drilling in scrumptious balls from the right flank. He can play from the other wing and central locations as well, to be more involved in his team’s attack.
The Englishman has picked up a significant amount of experience in both the Premier League and the Championship and could be given a fresh start at Cardiff. The newly promoted outfit is looking to set themselves up in the English top-flight and has already made four quality signings – Josh Murphy, Bobby Reid, Alex Smithies and Greg Cunningham.
Phillips could add a different dynamic to Neil Warnock’s side despite having to compete for a place with Junior Hoilett, Murphy and Anthony Pilkington in the starting lineup next term. So it can be said that a move for the Englishman can be a good one for the Bluebirds indeed.