Liverpool, Manchester United, and the race to capture Dortmund star Jude Bellingham

Sep 24, 2022

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In July, on the eve of Liverpool’s preseason trip to Asia, Jurgen Klopp was questioned about persistent rumors that Jude Bellingham would be moving to Anfield.

Although Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund is greatly admired by Klopp, signing him this summer for Liverpool was never a possibility. The prolific scorer Erling Haaland had previously been sold to Manchester City, thus the German Bundesliga team had no desire to part with another of their prized possessions.

However, the scenery will change next summer. As things stand, Bellingham will have two years left on his contract, and if that is the case, Dortmund’s commitment to keeping him will be put to the test.

Liverpool will undoubtedly be a contender, but there will be a lot of competition for the most promising young players in English football. Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Real Madrid all continue to show a lot of interest.

Bellingham, for instance, received praise from City manager Pep Guardiola for his “outstanding” performance in last week’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Dortmund at the Etihad. He made his 100th appearance for Dortmund on Saturday when they defeated Schalke in the derby, which is an impressive feat considering he just turned 19 in June.

For Bellingham, the conflict has already begun.

Bellingham will not be lost to Dortmund by the summer. Senior club officials maintain there has been no contact with Liverpool despite some reports claiming negotiations had already taken place, speaking anonymously to safeguard their connections.

He was acquired by Dortmund from Championship team Birmingham City in July 2020 for an initial fee of £25 million (currently $28.5 million), which increased to £30 million. Dortmund plans to offer him better terms in the hopes that he will sign a contract extension and continue his impressive development in Germany.

Dortmund are sure that Bellingham is valued at almost €150 million (£131.6 million, $149.4 million), should he decide to pursue a transfer. He would then be the most expensive footballer in British history. There is no release clause in play, in contrast to Haaland’s deal to City in June. Bellingham’s family never expressed a desire for one since they were so confident in his abilities that they believed interested teams would make the necessary payments when the time came for him to advance.

Bellingham has piqued Liverpool’s interest for almost a decade.

Bellingham has spoken of his pride at being selected among the best five midfielders in the world by the now-Aston Villa head coach. Bellingham grew up idolizing Anfield icon Steven Gerrard. During their time together on international duty, he also grew close to Jordan Henderson, the current captain of Liverpool.

Liverpool didn’t look for a replacement after Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni decided to join Real Madrid instead of them this summer – at least, not until their injury problem really cut deep late in the window. On the final day, they decided to grant Juventus’ Arthur Melo a one-season loan. Because other targets they sought, like Bellingham, were not readily available, they were reluctant to commit funding in August.

Before he signed with Dortmund, Manchester United was the English team that came the closest to acquiring him.

The same is true for Chelsea, who had a strong interest in him before his signing with Dortmund. In terms of both age and talent, he undeniably matches their new Todd Boehly model. N’Golo Kante (31) and Jorginho (30) have expiring contracts next summer, thus Chelsea needs a midfield succession plan. However, they somewhat addressed that this summer by signing teenagers Cesare Casadei, 19, and Carney Chukwuemeka, 18.

Given the impressive impact of Tchameni, 22, and Eduardo Camavinga, 19, Real Madrid may find less need for Bellingham. Additionally, they have 24-year-old Federico Valverde. The current European champions would undoubtedly have the funds to compete with Premier League clubs for Bellingham, but Luka Modric, 37, can no longer resist aging.

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