The ultra-reliable David Ornstein has weighed in on claims Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid is all but done, with the reporter revealing Man City in particular believe there’s more than meets the eye.
Spanish outlet Marca reported Real Madrid were on the cusp of finalising a move for Borussia Dortmund ace Jude Bellingham last week.
The 19-year-old is already one of world football’s premier midfielders and counted Liverpool, Man City and Real Madrid among his suitors.
Marca claimed Bellingham would accept a lower salary to join Real when compared with what he was being offered elsewhere. Fabrizio Romano added weigh to the story, noting negotiations between Real and Bellingham were reaching their “final stages”.
However, a fresh update from the Athletic’s David Ornstein has offered a ray of hope to those wishing to see Bellingham join Liverpool or Man City.
Firstly, Ornstein acknowledged Real have ‘taken pole position’ and rival clubs believe the Spanish side are Bellingham’s preference.
However, an anonymous Man City source told Ornstein there is a belief the reports out of Spain aren’t entirely above board.
It’s claimed people within City believe the Bellingham to Madrid claims to be nothing more than a ‘repeated tactic’ deployed by the Spanish press to unsettle City.
The reasoning would be to put them off their stride ahead of their Champions League semi-final clash against… Real Madrid.
Other instances of this tactic include the repeated links between Haaland and Real Madrid despite the Norwegian only signing for City last summer.
Elsewhere, Raheem Sterling was claimed to be ‘open’ to joining Real by the Spanish press back in February of 2020. Again, those reports surfaced ahead of a UCL clash between City and Real.
While it’s noted Real are indeed the favourites, Ornstein’s report suggests talk of Bellingham to Real being a virtual done deal may be premature.
City retain a ‘concrete interest’ in the player, though are yet to submit an offer or verbalise to Bellingham how much he’d be paid if moving to the Etihad.
Given City haven’t discussed numbers with the Englishman, weight is thus added to the claim Marca’s report is a little mischievous. Indeed, how would Marca know Real are offering a lower salary than City if City are yet to settle on a number?
Ornstein reiterated the reason Liverpool pulled the plug on their pursuit was down to the soaring cost of the move.
With Real’s move perhaps not as advanced as first thought, the door isn’t yet closed to the English sides.
Of course, a move to Anfield would require a U-turn from Liverpool who have already begun to accelerate other moves, most notably for Alexis Mac Allister.
As such, the main benefactor if Real aren’t able to close the deal looks destined to be Man City.