Liverpool and Arsenal are among a heavyweight quintet sizing up Aston Villa sensation Carney Chukwuemeka in a move that could have knock-on effects for Jude Bellingham, per reports.
The 18-year-old is making headlines for all the right reasons at present. Chukwuemeka is starring for England at the Under-19s European Championship in Slovakia. His two goals and two assists in three group stage matches helped England breeze into the semi-finals.
The midfielder was given opportunity to shine by Steven Gerrard at club level last season. Indeed, he was handed eight appearances off the bench in Gerrard’s first 10 matches at the Villa helm.
However, according to talkSPORT, Villa are growing increasingly fearful they’re about to lose their rising star.
They report Chukwuemeka is refusing to pen fresh terms and his current contract is due to expire in 2023.
That leaves Aston Villa vulnerable to the prospect of losing him for free in 12 months’ time. To avert that disaster, they must either sell this summer, or convince him to extend his stay.
However, his virtuoso performance with England’s Under-19s are serving only to rouse the interest of Europe’s big hitters.
talkSPORT note Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and Bundesliga duo Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are all sniffing around.
The level of fee he would cost isn’t stated in the piece. However, it’s safe to assume Villa will be well compensated if he does move given the volume and calibre of those interested.
The fact he is claimed to be targeting reaching the very top as quickly as possible also suggests he could be open to an exit.
Carney Chukwuemeka, Jude Bellingham futures linked?
Chukwuemeka would be a fine addition wherever he were to land if leaving Villa. However, it may actually be in Liverpool’s best interests to step aside.
The Reds are known to be eyeing up Dortmund ace Jude Bellingham in a move that will have to wait until 2023. Jurgen Klopp is a huge admirer of the Englishman and he’d represent the next stage in the evolution of the Reds midfield.
Dortmund have shown they are willing to sell their big names when the time is right – as long as they sign a suitable and often times younger replacement first.
Indeed, Karim Adeyemi was brought on board to replace the outgoing Erling Haaland.
One school of thought suggests that if Chukwuemeka moved to Dortmund, they’d be more receptive to letting Bellingham go with a suitable replacement already on the books.
Dortmund have found tremendous success signing young, English stars in recent times. Chukwuemeka could follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho and Bellingham and Dortmund have proven themselves to be an excellent club to join for youngsters on the rise.
Bellingham worth waiting for?
Certain sections of the Anfield fanbase may be thinking: If Chukwuemeka is that good, why wait for Bellingham?
The difference there is that Bellingham has already proven himself, while Chukwuemeka remains very much a work in progress.
Bellingham won’t turn 19 until later this week, yet already has over 100 senior league appearances to his name. What’s more, he’s a veteran of two Champions League campaigns and is already a regular for the senior England side.
Dortmund have made it clear Bellingham is valued above the £100m mark. That will require a new Liverpool transfer record. Though owners FSG have shown they will spend big for the right man, such as Darwin Nunez.
There are very few players Liverpool could sign that would come with a bigger guarantee of success than Bellingham.