Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke has revealed when he is planning on sitting down with Liverpool and Manchester City target Jude Bellingham to discuss the midfielder’s future.
Bellingham is expected to be one of the transfer stories of 2023, with the Reds, City and Spanish giants Real Madrid all in the running for the England man’s signature.
The 19-year-old is currently valued at anywhere between £100-150million after excelling in Germany following his move from Birmingham.
Bellingham also appears to be a certain Three Lions starter when the World Cup gets underway in Qatar.
He is currently under contract until the summer of 2025. And, with constant rumours over Bellingham’s future, Watzke has revealed when talks with the player will take place.
The Bundesliga club are eager to extend the midfielder’s contract. Indeed, there have been rumours that Bellingham is also willing to put to paper.
But by revealing when discussions will take place, Watzke has seemingly given suitors the heads up over when to potentially try and strike a deal for one of Europe’s top talents.
He told BILD: “I think as soon as Qatar is over, we’re going to have a basic conversation about what he actually wants.
“With him, with his parents, with whom we have a very close relationship and of course with his advisor.
“And then he should just tell us whether he wants to stay or whether he wants to go. Either way, we’ll discuss it pleasantly and reasonably.
“But we don’t have to pretend that the topic isn’t on the table. When the really big [teams] are there, we can’t afford to fight financially either.”
While City have recently been labelled favourites to team Bellingham up with his old Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland, Liverpool’s need for the player is clearly more urgent.
Klopp in Liverpool rebuild mode
Jurgen Klopp’s men are well off in the race for the title this season after struggles domestically.
Midfield has been a major issue for the Reds boss, who wants to revamp that area of his team.
Leicester’s Youri Tielemans remains a ‘dark horse’ to move to Anfield, while Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez is also a target.
However, it’s Bellingham who Klopp really wants to be the kingpin of his engine room for years to come.
One sticking point remains the fee, however, although a proposed Liverpool takeover could see that no longer be an issue.
The Anfield outfit are reportedly the subject of fresh takeover interest after an enquiry from the eighth-richest man in the world, the multi-billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
FSG are preparing to sell their controlling interest in the club and the owner of IPL side Munbai Indians Ambani is keen.
His arrival would almost certainly allow Klopp to rebuild his current Liverpool team.
In some ways, that news could not have come at a better time – given how City keep adding quality signings to their squad, while Arsenal are clearly on the rise again and Newcastle are emerging as a major top-four threat.