Jude Bellingham: Man City still clinging on, with potential Real Madrid slip to give renewed hope

Jude Bellingham, Borussia Dortmund, May 2023

Manchester City are reportedly not going to pull out of the race for Jude Bellingham in case Real Madrid slip up, but are prepared to ‘look elsewhere’ for midfield reinforcements.

City are one of a number of sides who have had a vested interest in the development of Bellingham this season. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has become one of the world’s best in his position, despite being just 19 years of age.

That he’s become such an accomplished player has put his value out of reach for most sides.

Indeed, it’s believed he’ll command a fee in excess of £100million, potentially by a long way. That is one reason that Liverpool – one of the main contenders for his signature – dropped out of the race.

The chasing pack has thinned a lot due to Bellingham’s price tag, with Man City and Real Madrid seemingly the only genuine contenders at this point.

The Citizens reportedly offered him a £13million-a-year contract in order to join them. That shows just how crucial an asset they think he would be.

However, the same report suggested he snubbed that in favour of a move to Real. What’s more, the Spanish side’s offer is said to be ‘considerably’ lower than City’s.

As such, it appears it’s game, set and match in the long-running saga.

City preying on Real slip up

However, City have not backed down just yet. Indeed, Football Insider reports they will ‘not pull out of the race in case of any possible complications’ in Bellingham’s move to Madrid.

Indeed, City would surely be in the box seat was that move to crumble. However, Pep Guardiola’s side are realistic in the knowledge that probably won’t happen, with the report suggesting they ‘no longer expect him to join’.

That’s a blow for a couple of reasons. Firstly, City won’t be getting a player who could conceivably be one of the world’s best talents for the next decade and perhaps beyond.

What’s more, they’ll have to look for other midfield players, with Ilkay Gundogan looking likely to leave for Barcelona at the end of his contract in the summer.

City ready to look elsewhere

Football Insider states City are ‘prepared to look elsewhere for midfield reinforcements’, given Gundogan is likely to leave a hole in the midfield.

Replicating the impact of a player who has won four league titles, played 300 games and directly contributed to 97 goals for City will be a challenge.

Bellingham seemed perfect, so City will hope they can find another player who fits the role as well as he would have.

Moves for Ryan Gravenberch and Declan Rice have both been mooted. The former usually plays in a more advanced role out of the pair, so may fit well, while the latter is one of the Premier League’s best midfielders and is very experienced in England.

As such, either man might be a fitting signing for City, if they do manage to sign one, or both, of them.

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