On Wednesday, Sport Bild‘s head of football Christian Falk reported that Jude Bellingham’s family would “prefer” him to join Liverpool, and the German journalist has now made fresh claims regarding the Reds’ interest in the midfielder.
Much has been made of the close relationships Bellingham has struck up with Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold during the World Cup, and if reports are to be believed, Liverpool are now very much at the front of the queue to secure the 19-year-old’s signature.
In an interview with The Anfield Wrap, Falk has suggested that the two parties are now “very, very close,” with Bellingham’s family and agent heavily involved in negotiations.
“We’re [the Bundesliga] going to lose Bellingham like Haaland next summer, it’s getting closer and closer,” Falk said.
“You will have heard that Bellingham and Liverpool are very, very close. There have been many, many talks.
“His father Mark and mother Denise are in the negotiations together with his agent Mark Bennett, they are really focused on Liverpool.”
However, Falk went on to reveal “the only problem” that he believes could scupper any deal, with Liverpool and Dortmund said to be well apart in their valuations of the player.
The Bundesliga outfit are said to be seeking €150 million for Bellingham, while the Reds, according to Falk, are currently only willing to pay €100 million.
“The only problem could be money,” says the journalist. “This is the thing – I don’t know how far Liverpool are in this case with Dortmund.
“This will be an advantage for City, for Chelsea, who are also in the race. But we heard clearly – if Bellingham can decide it, it’s Liverpool.
“He has no clause [in his contract]. So €150 million is at the moment, the point. I think that’s about £130 million, I guess.
“And I heard Liverpool would pay, at the moment, €100 million – which is about 86 million in sterling. So I’m not sure if they find a solution so early.
“Perhaps the Fenway group is selling the club, the new owner makes a present to supporters – then it would be easier!”
— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) December 7, 2022
According to Falk, Bellingham “sees a big chance to become a leader” at Liverpool, while he has also reported that the player’s entourage have told Real Madrid that the Anfield club are leading the race to sign him.
Another question mark surrounding Liverpool’s interest in Bellingham was whether a deal would be dependent on Champions League football, but Falk says he does not believe that’s the case.
“It’s not an easy decision, but Liverpool is bigger than the Champions League,” he continued.
“I think for one year, that’s not a problem for him.”
When asked for his gut feeling on where Bellingham would end up, Falk said that, as things stand, he believes the Dortmund and England prodigy will be a Liverpool player next season.
“I think it will happen, but in the end, it’s the point of the player and the point of Liverpool.
“It’s a question of money. If Liverpool can’t pay Dortmund it will get difficult because, in the end, he has a contract, and if they can’t find a solution with the transfer fee, that’s the point where Real Madrid can knock again, Chelsea can knock again, and especially City can knock again because Pep Guardiola is also a man who can talk to players very well.”
The Anfield Wrap’s interview with Christian Falk is available to listen to in full here.