Premier League • England

Jordan Henderson goes public with views on Jude Bellingham as Liverpool transfer rumours take leap forward

ordan Henderson (centre) and Jude Bellingham during the England training session at Hotspur Way Training Ground, London

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has heaped praise on England teammate Jude Bellingham amid transfer speculation that the two midfielders will one day soon be playing at Anfield together.

The teenager star finds himself one of the world’s most in-demand players. After moving to Borussia Dortmund for an initial £25m in summer 2020, he has gone on to make more than 100 appearances for the Bundesliga club. And with a string of impressive performances under his belt – most notably – in the Champions League, interest in the star is growing by the day.

In his 20 Champions League appearances, Bellingham has six goals to his name; an impressive stat for a midfielder who does not turn 20 until June.

As such, it’s little surprise to see enormous transfer fees of up to £130m (€150m) put on his head. Some reports state he could leave for nearer £83m – but that would take a rather large financial commitment from any buyer.

Nonetheless, transfer interest in Bellingham is vast. Liverpool are strongly linked with a move, amid speculation they have already held talks with Dortmund for a 2023 deal.

But there is rival interest from Chelsea, with owner Todd Boehly a huge fan, while links with Real Madrid and Manchester City persist. And amid City links, a former England keeper has issued a Jack Grealish-style warning over one move to Bellingham.

However, it is the Reds who remain favourites. Jurgen Klopp badly needs to address his midfield shortages in 2023. The Reds have been beset by a string of injuries there this season.

Furthermore, Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are both over 30 and showing signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, this may finally be the last season at Anfield for James Milner, who turns 37 in January.

As such, a move to Anfield certainly ticks plenty of boxes.

Jordan Henderson talks up star’s qualities

One man who does admire his qualities – perhaps a bit too much – is Declan Rice.

Now Henderson has seemingly added fuel to the fire by talking up his England teammates qualities.

“I like Jude, I think he’s an amazing player,” Henderson told the Daily Mirror.

“He’s a fantastic professional and his mentality is really key for his development.

“I almost don’t want to big him up too much because he’s still a young lad!

“There will be a lot of pressure on him at a young age, but of course he’s a top, top player. And I’m sure he’ll have a big part to play in Qatar.”

Bellingham was one of the few England players to come out of recent disappointing results with much credit. Indeed, he was a major positive during Monday’s 3-3 draw with Germany at Wembley.

And while Gareth Southgate’s side have been relegated to Pool 2 of the Nations League, Henderson insists there are still reasons to be cheerful.

“The Germany game was a snapshot of our mentality, and how we can come back as a group,” he added.

“Two-nil down against Germany can go awfully and dreadfully wrong, and I think we reacted in the right way, stayed together through tough moments, and although unfortunately we didn’t win the game I think we did really well to come back and salvage a draw.

“We were positive after the game.

“We’re obviously going to go through difficult times as a team, and we’ve had our fair share of criticism over the past few camps, so it was nice to keep going and to show the mentality of the team, to keep fighting right until the end, and we nearly got our rewards.”

Jude Bellingham transfer may be beyond for Liverpool

Klopp knows Liverpool will have to strengthen their midfield over the next two transfer windows, of that there is no doubt. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also likely to leave Anfield as free agents at the end of the season.

But might the price a Jude Bellingham transfer already be beyond Liverpool’s reach? The Reds will be extremely cautious about not wanting to get into an auction over his price. For that reason, many of the player’s other suitors are capable of blowing Liverpool away financially.

That might not be a bad thing, though, and Klopp will be well aware that there are other options out there.

As such, the Reds are also being linked with Konrad Laimer, who can leave RB Leipzig for a cut-price fee in January. He’s already teased the move by announcing he’s a Liverpool fan!

The Reds do have other options too as the club look towards the next stage of their rebuild. Douglas Luiz is also likely to be a bargain target, while other costly options are out there too.

But wherever Bellingham ends up, it’s safe to say that Borussia Dortmund will be turning over another significant profit.

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