Liverpool are among the firm admirers of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham. But what do we know about the 19-year-old and could he join?
It is no secret that Liverpool want Bellingham.
With a move for a midfielder delayed until 2023, the speculation over a deal for the England international has only intensified.
There are no guarantees that a transfer is in the offing, but links between the Dortmund player and the Anfield club will only increase if no signing is made this summer.
But why do Liverpool want Bellingham, and is a deal possible?
Who is Jude Bellingham?
Only one of the hottest commodities in football.
Bellingham rose to prominence after breaking through the youth ranks at Birmingham City, becoming their youngest-ever player when he debuted as a 16-year-old in 2019.
He went on to make 44 appearances for the Midlands club, earning a move to Dortmund in 2020 that was worth over £30 million, as Birmingham retired his No. 22 shirt.
Now, he is a regular with England, with 15 caps so far, and a key player for Dortmund, having scored 10 goals and laid on 18 assists in 90 games.
What is he like as a player?
He is, effectively, a complete midfielder.
In his 90 games for Dortmund so far, Bellingham was prominently played as a central midfielder, but with outings on the right, left, as No. 6 and as a No. 10 too.
He is versatile in his skillset but could most accurately be described as a No. 8, able to link up play as a supporting midfielder, overlapping into attack from either inside flank.
But there is a maturity and composure to his game that has seen him operate deeper for England, with his willingness to take possession under pressure and craft space one of his most important attributes.
Why do Liverpool want him?
For the same reason every other club will want him: he is a generational talent and already among the best in his position having just turned 19.
At Liverpool, the succession planning in midfield is gradual, but with Jordan Henderson (32), Thiago (31) and James Milner (36) all into their 30s and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho both turning 29 this season, there is a need to regenerate.
Bellingham would slot perfectly into a variety of roles at Liverpool, with experience in both 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 systems, and given his age he could do so for over a decade to come.
As Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita all see their current contracts expire in 2023 and Thiago‘s deal is up in 2024, bringing in a new lead midfielder alongside the likes of Fabio Carvalho, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott is paramount.
How much would he cost?
Liverpool may be required to break their transfer record for a second summer in a row if they are to sign Bellingham.
Various reports in England and Germany are touting the teenager for a move worth anywhere from £80 million to £100 million.
The Reds’ current record signing is Darwin Nunez, whose switch from Benfica this summer could eventually be worth £85 million.
However, the Nunez deal does show that, for the right player, Liverpool are happy to spend big.
And does he want to join Liverpool?
It would seem he is open to the move!
According to GOAL‘s Neil Jones, Bellingham “would be more than interested in a move to Merseyside” if one presented itself.
The teenager idolised Steven Gerrard growing up and has formed a strong bond with Jordan Henderson while away with England, describing the Liverpool captain as a “legend” in a recent Instagram post.
Why not this summer?
For a number of reasons, a deal for Bellingham is unlikely this summer.
Firstly, with Dortmund having already parted ways with Erling Haaland, who joined Man City earlier in June, allowing their No. 22 to also move in the same summer could be damaging.
And with Liverpool having already spent close to £100 million on Nunez, Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay, there is an added incentive to wait and spread out the outlay.
Furthermore, the Reds are currently well-stocked in midfield, despite the opinion of some supporters, with it only next summer that the numbers are expected to be depleted.
If it happens, a 20-year-old Bellingham arriving at Anfield would be a blockbuster signing. A game-changer for Liverpool.