Jude Bellingham made the BBC pundit panel go weak at the knees during England’s 3-0 victory over Wales, though the Liverpool target’s incredible showing might not be good news for Jurgen Klopp.
The future of Jude Bellingham looks set to become the transfer saga of 2023. Despite only being 19, the Borussia Dortmund and England ace is already one of the finest midfielders in world football.
Bellingham counts Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and Real Madrid among his suitors. There would be more, though many clubs already know Bellingham’s future transfer fee will be sky high and therefore beyond them.
On that subject, Dortmund are understood to value their midfield talisman around the £130m mark. He’s been installed as Liverpool’s primary target in 2023 and would represent both the Reds’ and Premier League’s record signing if moving for over £100m.
Fabrizio Romano recently claimed that despite Dortmund’s best attempt, it’ll be “almost impossible” to retain Bellingham beyond next summer. The transfer guru also reiterated Liverpool and Klopp want the England superstar “at all costs”.
Bellingham put on a show during England’s 3-0 victory over Wales that set up a Round of 16 clash with Senegal.
Analysing his display post-match, the BBC pundit panel consisting of Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Ashley Williams and Ian Rush went weak at the knees when reviewing what they saw.
Primary Liverpool target wows England greats
Lineker teed up the segment by labelling Bellingham “breath-taking”, before Ferdinand took centre-stage with a salvo of huge compliments.
“He was fabulous in spells,” said Ferdinand. “The cameos he put together, the skillset he has, his presence on the pitch at this young age, at 19-years-old, it was beautiful.
“At times he plays with an experience that goes beyond his years. I think that even right now, he’s someone that other players are looking at to produce moments.
“He’s somebody that can play through the different levels of the pitch as well. He’s equally comfortable receiving the ball off the back four as he is marauding through the midfield.
“I don’t quite know yet what he’s going to be. Is he going to be a Steven Gerrard or a Frank Lampard type? Or is he going to be a defensive midfielder?”
The first Bellingham, not the next Gerrard or Lampard
Lineker responded by saying the English media have a habit of trying too hard to compare rising young stars to those that came before them.
In Lineker’s eyes at least, rather than being the next Gerrard or Lampard, the 19-year-old can be the first Bellingham.
“He’s got some engine on him,” added Shearer. “His energy is incredible.
“From the first minute to the last he’s the one that’s still trying to get up field and drive England forward.”
Ashley Williams concluded: “That’s what I love about him. He’s come to the World Cup and said: ‘I’m going to dictate this, I’m going to make things happen and I don’t really care who’s in the midfield with me or who we’re against, I’m going to make it happen’.”
Aside from England, the other big winner on the night was Borussia Dortmund.
If the race to sign Bellingham in 2023 wasn’t fierce enough already, it certainly will be now.
The more suitors that enter the race to sign their midfield ace and the harder they push to beat their rivals, the higher Dortmund will be able to drive up the price.
Doubts have already been cast over Liverpool’s ability to forge an agreement over the £100m mark. Ambitious new owners could conceivably remove the financial implications from play. However, if FSG remain in charge, the higher the fee rises, the less likely we are to see Bellingham at Anfield.
While Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly be pleased to see his primary target shine, he’ll no doubt be concerned many more displays like that could price him out of a move to Merseyside.