Premier League • England

Jude Bellingham: Liverpool, Man Utd in straight tussle but fresh concern creeps out of midfielder’s camp

Jude Bellingham, October 2022

The representatives of Jude Bellingham are reportedly monitoring Liverpool and Manchester United closely to determine where the star would fit best.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder looks a generational talent and is already starring for club and country. Indeed, his Bundesliga and Champions League displays are setting him up nicely for England’s World Cup campaign.

For a while now, Bellingham has had strong links with making the Premier League his next destination.

Liverpool are reportedly his strongest suitors and are aware of his supposed £131million valuation. However, Man Utd are also in the hunt, with Manchester City and Chelsea monitoring the situation too.

In fact, another report claimed Erling Haaland is trying to convince Bellingham to move to City. And the same report claimed he is available for £83million if his suitors pay the fee up front and all at once.

According to The Independent, though, the Bellingham camp are monitoring developments from afar for now.

They are fearful that both Liverpool and United are at a ‘crossroads’ and that Bellingham could sway their fortunes. The teenager’s representatives therefore want to watch both teams carefully to see the state they are in at the end of the season.

And for Liverpool, that makes pretty grim reading as it stands. They sit 10th in the Premier League after eight games. Defeat to Manchester City next week could see them slip eight points adrift of the Champions League places.

United, meanwhile, have shown signs of improvement under manager Erik ten Hag. They bounced back from their own defeat to City with a 2-1 win over Everton on Sunday.

That made it five wins in the past six league games for the Red Devils. And they could be the team who could stretch Liverpool’s top-four deficit to eight points if they beat Newcastle and Liverpool lose to City.

Man Utd have clear Bellingham alternative

The Independent adds that Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is Man Utd’s clear transfer alternative to Bellingham.

The Old Trafford club tried and failed to sign the Netherlands international over a number of weeks in the summer transfer window.

But while De Jong was clear he wanted to stay at Barcelona, his situation has not improved much.

And the report claims that United could subsequently move for De Jong in January, or they could wait. The decision rests on whether the Red Devils want to plan for the medium-term or the long-term.

Casemiro was a medium-term signing, the 30-year-old joining United’s midfield from Real Madrid instead of De Jong.

However, 19-year-old Bellingham could be a guaranteed talent for the next 10 years and more.

Midfield decisions will define both clubs

There is no doubt about it, the midfield recruitment decisions from both Liverpool and Man Utd in the next two transfer windows will prove defining ones.

For a start, the Reds are likely to lose Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to free agency next summer and they will have ran down a lot of their final years of their contracts injured.

Deadline day loan signing Arthur Melo is in the same boat as he requires surgery on a muscle problem.

Elsewhere, James Milner is 37 in January, with Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara going through their thirties.

So, Liverpool need to recruit – and recruit well – to get back on track under Jurgen Klopp.

United would have had similar concerns about the state of their midfield had they not recruited in the summer.

Still, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are both 30 and so are not long-term signings. They too will need replacing and the Old Trafford recruitment decisions will also have to be spot on.