Liverpool have been told they have zero chance of orchestrating a January swap deal for Jude Bellingham that would potentially see one of their own stars moving to Borussia Dortmund as a makeweight in the deal.
Teenage star Bellingham finds himself one of the world’s most in-demand players. The England man has seen his stock rise to unprecedented new heights while shining in the Dortmund midfield. And with well over 100 games under his belt for BVB, demand for Bellingham has never been higher.
Indeed, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid are regularly linked with Bellingham. Earlier this week though it was suggested that Erling Haaland was ready to intervene over Bellingham’s next club.
However, the strongest links of all have undoubtedly come from Liverpool.
The Reds are long-term admirers of Bellingham and are reportedly already in talks with Dortmund over a 2023 transfer. Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly turn his transfer focus towards his midfield in 2023 with a number of issues to fix.
For starters, James Milner will be 37 in January and surely in his final season at Anfield. Beyond that, Thiago and Jordan Henderson are both now over 30 and showing signs of being more vulnerable to injury.
And both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are coming towards the end of their contracts at Anfield too. As it stands, both players are eligible to leave Anfield as free agents next summer.
As a result, Bellingham looks the perfect addition to the Reds midfield, despite competition for his signature being impossibly tough.
That said, Liverpool do seemingly have an advantage in the race for Bellingham with Dortmund reportedly keen on signing Keita as his replacement.
As such, talk of a potential swap deal in January has already begun to gather pace.
Naby Keita – Jude Bellingham swap deal discussed
However, in-the-know German journalist Christian Falk is adamant that a swap deal is not on the cards. He claims there is no prospect of Liverpool being able to use Keita as a makeweight in any deal to land the 19-year-old.
However, he does deliver an interesting update with regards Keita’s future.
And with his contract winding down at Anfield, Falk claims Keita ‘won’t talk’ with Liverpool officials over a renewal ‘before January’. And given his contract will have just six months left to run in January, that raises further the possibility of Keita leaving Merseyside in 2023.
Indeed, the 27-year-old midfielder will be eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs from January 1. That, together with Keita’s apparent unwillingness to discuss an extension, makes a move away seem all the more likely.
Whether that means he will leave Anfield as a free agent next summer or for a cut-price fee in January remains to be seen. Either way, his refusal to hold negotiations with the Reds suggests the Guinean wants to see what offers come his way.
Guinean star has struggled at Anfield
Truth be told, Keita has proved a major disappointment at Anfield. Signed for a huge £52.7m in 2018, hopes were high that he would become a big success on Merseyside.
Clearly the ability is there, but Keita has been badly hindered by a string of injuries throughout his stay. Indeed, he has made just 117 appearances in his four full seasons at Anfield so far.
So far this season, he is yet to play a single minute for Jurgen Klopp’s side; a fact that perhaps sums up his struggles.
And while he perhaps won’t be missed, the fact is that Liverpool will not want to lose the fourth most costly signing in their history on a free.
To that end, it will come as no surprise if they look to cash in on him in January. And a move back to the Bundesliga surely looks the most likely outcome.
He was a major star there during his time with RB Leipzig. In his two seasons there, Naby Keita scored 17 times in 71 appearances, proving a dynamic force in their midfield.
Sadly, he’s never really looked like repeating that sort of form at Liverpool and it will be no shock to see him leave in the coming months.