Liverpool remain unlikely to make another signing this summer but Jude Bellingham is a long-term transfer target whom they are expected to strongly pursue in 12 months’ time. The England midfielder has thrived at Borussia Dortmund where he has racked up nearly 100 appearances, scoring 11 goals and laying on 19 assists. Express Sport rounds up all the latest news and rumours on the possibility of Bellingham heading to Anfield.
Bellingham ‘expected’ to join Liverpool
Bellingham is ‘expected’ to join Liverpool next summer, according to the Daily Mail. James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are all currently out of contract on Merseyside by July 2023 although Jurgen Klopp wants Keita to be given an extension.
Klopp has ruled out selling Keita this summer but also suggested another midfielder is wanted, and that the “right option” is not currently available. That option may well be Bellingham, who Dortmund have refused to lose this summer after Erling Haaland joined Manchester City.
Klopp said: “When [every midfielder is] fit, 100 per cent [we have enough numbers], but even then we always look to strengthen. If the right player is not available at this moment then we tend to deal with what we have rather than sign a player who is not 100 per cent right.
“This situation did not change. Now we have more injuries than we would have imagined and it would be cool to have another midfielder in, of course. But now we have a situation that when the boys come back and stuff like these it changes constantly. Then there is also another fact that I am not in charge of what we can spend. That’s the situation.”
£103m price tag
Liverpool face ‘serious competition’ to sign Bellingham according to The Athletic, who cite reports that it may take £103million (€120m) to sign the midfielder. Bellingham’s contract does not expire until June 2025 and so Borussia Dortmund are in a strong position to demand a large fee.
Nevertheless it appears inevitable he will leave the Westfalenstadion next summer. Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United are named as three serious rivals for Bellingham. Man City are another club who have been linked with the 15-cap England international.
It’s claimed Bellingham’s wage demands could be a stumbling block for Liverpool. That’s despite the fact he’s said to earn only around £50,000 a week in Germany at the moment. The Reds’ highest-paid player is Mohamed Salah on around £350,000 a week.
Steven Gerrard backing
Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, the current Aston Villa manager, has made it clear just how highly he rates Bellingham. He named him as one of the best six midfielders in the world alongside Liverpool’s Fabinho.
Gerrard said to BT Sport: “Love Jude Bellingham. Absolutely loving him. Kevin De Bruyne without a shadow of a doubt. Love Mason Mount, what he’s doing. [Mateo] Kovacic at Chelsea. Then I love Fabinho at Liverpool and Rodri.”
Another legendary ex-Premier League midfielder, Roy Keane, labelled Bellingham’s potential “scary” while Didi Hamann formerly of Liverpool labelled him an “amazing player” who has been “sensational” in the Bundesliga. Former Tottenham player Jamie O’Hara has even compared the Birmingham-born ace to Gerrard himself.
He told talkSPORT: “He is the closest thing we have had since Steven Gerrard. I say that given the fact Steven Gerrard was unbelievable, but Bellingham is obviously not at that level yet. I feel like Jude Bellingham has got that something about him.”
Real Madrid plan
Real Madrid are reportedly planning to use the funds raised from selling Casemiro to launch a transfer offensive for Bellingham next summer. Spanish outlet Marca say the 21-year-old is Los Blancos’ top target.
The Spanish heavyweights are building their team for the next generation with Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga already recruited in midfield. With both Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ageing, Bellingham is being eyed as the next major addition to lead Real Madrid into the future.
And it is a project that may entice Bellingham. Real Madrid may be able to offer higher wages than Liverpool although Bellingham has vowed previously that money is not his motivation. Yet still, the lure of arguably the biggest club in the world could tempt the player to head to the Bernabeu.