Pep Guardiola has revealed that Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips rejected the chance to leave the club on loan amid interest from Liverpool.
Phillips barely featured for the treble-winners last season following his £42m move from Leeds United.
The England international was heavily linked with a move away from Man City during the summer transfer window and Liverpool were understood to be interested in him.
But Guardiola has now revealed that Phillips decided against leaving Man City as he wants to fight for his place at the Etihad.
“We talked with him and the club with the chance to maybe go on loan because he did not have a lot of minutes but he decided ‘no, I want to stay’. He is more than welcome,” Guardiola revealed during Friday’s press conference.
“As a good guy who accepts everything and stays, they are welcome. When we finish the transfer window, every player here is part of the family and are going to help.”
Guardiola has also admitted that he would have had a “big, big problem” if Kyle Walker had left Man City in the summer.
The England right-back came almost left the treble winners for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich but ultimately decided to stay and he extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium until 2026 earlier this week.
The 33-year-old fell down the pecking order at times last season but has started the new campaign brilliantly and Guardiola is delighted to have retained his services after losing Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez.
The City manager said: “After Gundo and Riyad, losing Bernardo (Silva) and Kyle would have have been a big, big problem.
“It’s not about the quality – the skills you can find quite similar, or different players can help you – but there are some things in the locker room that are so difficult to replace.
“These guys have a lot of experience in the important moments of important games. You know exactly how he’s going to respond in the bad moments.
“It would have been a big loss. That’s why as a club of course we fought for him to stay with us.”
Walker joined City from Tottenham in 2017 and has since won 15 trophies, including the Champions League and five Premier League titles.
Guardiola believes he has matured into a far better player than when he arrived and recently underlined his qualities with his response to a calamitous error last month.
Walker was at fault as Sheffield United claimed a late equaliser against City in their Premier League clash at Bramall Lane but then recovered to tee up Rodri’s dramatic winner.
Guardiola said: “He made a wrong decision when they equalised but, right after the equaliser, the next two actions came from Kyle in the byline. It was a goal. What a top, top player.
“He forgets what happened, says, ‘OK I’m going to win the game’. That defines the big, big players.
“No doubt he’s a much, much better player than seven years ago when he arrived. That is clear.
“Everyone makes mistakes but he has an incredible heart. And he’s a really nice guy, really nice, always tries to help.
“When a player is injured, he always calls him. I was at home (after back surgery) and he called me twice. ‘How you feel, Pep?’ This counts a lot in the group of people.
“The reason why we have a lot of success? The quality of human beings that we have.”
Walker has captained City so far this season and, with Kevin De Bruyne currently sidelined, could be the favoured choice to succeed Gundogan in the role full-time.
A vote among the squad and backroom staff – in which Guardiola will not participate – is due to be held in the coming days.
Guardiola said: “The vote will be taken the next days and the players will decide. It belongs to the players, not to me. What they decide, I’m fine (with).”