Missing Man City player from title parade could have confirmed his transfer plans

As Manchester City left Wembley on Saturday, there was a distinct end-of-term feel to proceedings.

The Blues had lost the FA Cup final in disappointing fashion, one game too many for this side who had achieved so much over the previous two seasons. The players who had performed so consistently over the previous few weeks had a collective off-day to record a first defeat in 35. Rodri lost a football game for the first time since February 2023, 74 matches earlier.

Rodri was the first player to leave the Wembley dressing room for the team coach and wouldn't be followed by a teammate for a good while. Even Kalvin Phillips had made his way down to the tunnel to speak to teammates and left with them when they eventually emerged.

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Phillips had been injured for the FA Cup third round win over Huddersfield and soon after completed a loan move to West Ham, so was not eligible for a silver medal. His City career is effectively over, with the second half of the season somehow even worse than the first.

Pep Guardiola said he couldn't imagine his side with Phillips in it, unless he was looking for chaos - hardly a ringing endorsement. Surely Phillips leaves this summer in some capacity, but it would require a club hopeful of the midfielder recreating his form before the summer of 2022 rather than continuing the downward trend since signing for City.

With a historic fourth Premier League trophy in a row secured, that was reason to celebrate for City's players. They brushed off the cup final disappointment by taking to the streets of Manchester on Sunday evening, each of the title-winning players getting a special announcement onto the open-top buses by a young fan with a passion for announcing the team. Erling Haaland was so impressed he got his phone out to film the youngster.

Even Sergio Gomez - the only player to play fewer minutes than Phillips in the league (but over more appearances) - was a part of the parade. Phillips had stayed down in London to watch his beloved Leeds side at Wembley the following day. He left the national stadium on the losing side for the second time in 24 hours, a run of luck that sums up his season.

It's not just the disappointment of being a fan that Phillips will have felt. If Leeds got promoted, they may have been better placed to put faith in their former midfielder, with the finances to back it up. Now, if Phillips wanted to head back to Elland Road, he would have to drop down a division.

That is if the finances added up for City, who may have to take a loss on their £42m signing. One of their more likely exit routes for Phillips might have disappeared with Southampton's win at Wembley.

Phillips did not join in City's on-pitch title celebrations last week, albeit against his loan club West Ham, although he did go into the dressing room after. To be absent for the second public celebration is another reminder of his status at City. A big summer search for a buyer awaits.