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West Ham United may have to change their January transfer plans after Liverpool defender Nat Phillips picked up an injury. The Hammers are looking to sign a centre-back in the New Year following a spate of injuries of their own, but Phillips may have to be struck off their shortlist after fracturing his cheekbone.
West Ham are currently without Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna, leaving manager David Moyes short of options in central defence.
Zouma is expected to be out for around three months with a serious hamstring injury, while Ogbonna is sidelined with a knee problem.
Moyes confirmed this week that the club were looking to the transfer market to address the problem, which has left Craig Dawson and Issa Diop as the only two senior centre-backs available.
“We have been looking to add to the forward players. We tried in the summer for a forward but there was nothing. Now we have to consider looking for a defender if possible,” he said on Wednesday.
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“I’ll see what we think the recovery time of players coming back is as well, that could have an influence on whether we need to take somebody immediately or if we think we can wait a bit later in January.”
According to the Evening Standard, one of the options West Ham were considering was Liverpool’s Phillips.
Phillips is behind Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate in the pecking order and is keen to play more regular football.
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The 24-year-old has only played three times for Klopp’s team this season and admitted after the most recent one, against AC Milan on Tuesday, that he would like more opportunities.
“All I can do is apply myself as much as possible in training and develop myself as much as possible,” Phillips told the club website this week.
“I feel like I’ve been seeing those developments over the last few seasons. Obviously, I want to be playing as much as possible but the competition is really difficult, so I’ve got to be ready when I’m called upon.”
However, the club reported on Friday that Phillips had picked up a facial injury in the 2-1 win at the San Siro, which will rule him out for ‘a number of weeks’.
While the defender will be able to continue to train, a move to West Ham would now appear unlikely, considering the club’s need for availability.
Burnley defender James Tarkowski is a long-term target for the Hammers and is out of contract in the summer.
Burnley reportedly value Tarkowski at £20million, despite his contractual status, while Manchester City’s Nathan Ake is considered a difficult prospect, having arrived at City for £40m in 2020.
Tarkowski is interested in a move to West Ham and will be able to discuss a free transfer in the summer with other clubs from January.
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