Liverpool have made signing Jude Bellingham their priority for the summer transfer window, according to Sky Germany.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham has elevated his already burgeoning reputation with his performances for England at the World Cup in Qatar and is being chased by a host of top clubs.
The German club are said to be planning for the 19-year-old’s departure in 2023 already as they brace themselves for a big offer in the summer, with Red’s boss Jurgen Klopp understood to be pushing hard for the deal.
Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid are thought to be the most interested parties with Bellingham likely to cost more than £100m in transfer fees alone. His current contract expires in 2025.
Manchester United, though, are out of the race, according to Sky Germany, having tried to sign Bellingham when he was at Birmingham City.
Sky in Germany transfer reporter Florian Plettenberg told Sky Sports News: “Borussia Dortmund are very happy with Jude Bellingham’s World Cup performance so far because he’s becoming even more valuable from the financial point of view.
“Bellingham is under contract until 2025 and he has no release clause unlike Erling Haaland did.
“They’re already planning for his summer exit in 2023, Dortmund would be fine with him leaving because they are confident in getting a transfer fee between €100m- €150m (£86.24m-£129.37m).”
Henderson jokes Bellingham won’t go to Real Madrid
A brave Real Madrid fan approached Bellingham in Qatar in a bid to convince the midfielder of moving to the Bernabeu while he was sat alongside Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“Bellingham, you are the best center midfielder in the world,” said the hopeful Real fan, who posted the video to TikTok.
“Come to Real Madrid, come to Real Madrid,” he added.
To which Henderson replied, saying “No, no. Not Madrid, he’s not going to Madrid.”
The fan then made a joke about Liverpool losing to Real in the Champions League final – earning a big laugh from the group – before returning his attentions to Bellingham.
“Come to Real Madrid, Bellingham,” he continued. “Please, Bellingham. If you come to Real Madrid you will win the Ballon d’Or.”
Bellingham refused to give anything away, but responded by saying: “We will see”.
Neville: I know what Man City, Liverpool players are doing!
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes the Manchester City and Liverpool players in the England squad are trying to get close to Bellingham as the race hots up for his signature – just as he did with Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand in the past.
“When I was in the [England] camp 15 years ago, I used to get close to Rooney, close to Rio Ferdinand,” Neville told Sky Sports News. “Now you see Phil Foden next to Jude Bellingham, you see Trent Alexander-Arnold going for a walk with him, you see Jordan Henderson cuddling up to him at the end of the game.
“And you think ‘you sneaky little s*ds, I know what you’re trying to do you lot’.
“That’s the reality at this moment in time. [Bellingham] is more likely to go to Liverpool and Manchester City, just because of where they are at, what they are doing.”
‘Liverpool, Klopp shouldn’t expect any gifts in Bellingham pursuit’
Borussia Dortmund MD Carsten Cramer says that while Liverpool would be his “preferred” next destination for Bellingham, Klopp’s side cannot expect “any gifts” from his former club.
“We both care about Dortmund,” said Cramer about Dortmund’s relationship with their one-time manager, who is now in charge at Anfield.
“We have a high sympathy for Liverpool for sure. We are still in a good relationship with Jurgen and many others at Liverpool.
“So for me, it’s my preferred club in the Premier League as well.
“But do not expect that we will make gifts to Liverpool.”