Premier League • England

Borussia Dortmund chasing Liverpool midfielder as they line up Jude Bellingham replacement

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and midfielder Naby Keita

Borussia Dortmund are reportedly lining up a move for Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita as they prepare for life without Jude Bellingham.

Dortmund coach Edin Terzic currently has a number of options in the centre of the pitch. Emre Can, Salih Ozcan, Mahmoud Dahoud, Giovanni Reyna and Bellingham are all contenders to start for BVB.

England starlet Bellingham is one of the first names on the team sheet with seven Bundesliga starts from seven games this season. But the interest in the 19-year-old is growing by the day and Dortmund face a battle to keep the player in 2023.

A report has claimed Dortmund could be prepared to accept an offer of around £83m, providing the fee is paid up-front. That will produce a feeding frenzy of interest and the German club’s official are already looking for a replacement.

That replacement could be Liverpool man Keita. According to Bild, Dortmund are watching Keita’s contract situation and are preparing to make a move for the player.

The report claims the Bundesliga club are “hot for” Keita.

Keita is out of contract next June and BVB want the player on a free transfer for the start of 2023-24.

Contract talks between Keita and Liverpool have been going on since the start of the year. Fabrizio Romano says negotiations are still ongoing, but there has been “a lot of interest around him”.

There have been no official bids for the 27-year-old, but there is understandable given his contractual situation. But the longer his situation continues without a contract renewal the more interest in him is likely.

Keita wants game-time ‘assurances’

Liverpool do not want to lose the Guinea international on a free transfer. They lost Gini Wijnaldum in similar circumstances in the summer of 2021. But the club also made a stance that they would not be willing to give out contracts beyond their means.

Keita’s situation is slightly different in that he will be only by 28 in February. And so he should have at least two years left in him at the top level. The problem Keita has is his problematic injury record.

The £52.75m recruit in 2018 has yet to play this season. And he only made 14 Premier League starts last season.

It’s a delicate situation with Keita reportedly demanding “assurances” over his game time after finding himself in and out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.

Keita may look for a new home and a team which will guarantee him first-team football. He is also no stranger to the Bundesliga having scored 14 goals from 58 appearances for RB Leipzig.

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