Liverpool have been urged to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund at the earliest opportunity – although the idea comes with the warning that they won’t have a clear run at signing him.
After making a breakthrough at a young age with Birmingham City, Bellingham has been honing his craft with Borussia Dortmund. He has coped admirably with the step up to top-flight football, making 46 appearances last season. His form earned him a place in England’s Euro 2020 squad, where he became the youngest ever player to feature in the competition – although his record was broken within a week.
Bellingham’s career path has been compared to that of Jadon Sancho, who moved to Dortmund as a teenager and forced his way into the England reckoning. Sancho has since returned to his home country with Manchester United and Premier League clubs will be following Bellingham’s progress if they feel he could make a similar move.
For example, he has been linked with Chelsea, while Liverpool have been mentioned as admirers. A recent report from the Daily Express speculated they could be watching him during the current international break before deciding whether to act upon a long-standing interest.
Of course, midfield has been an area for Liverpool to strengthen in recent years. Ever since the departure of Philippe Coutinho in 2018, they have had a space to fill in the lineup. They have tried various solutions and it hasn’t affected them too much, as they have still gone on to win the Champions League and Premier League without their former number 10.
But the need for a new player in the centre of the park became clear again over the summer when Georginio Wijnaldum left. A trusted servant for Jurgen Klopp over the past five years, his contract expired and he joined Paris Saint-Germain. It was thought that Liverpool would look for a replacement.
Instead, their only signing of the summer was centre-back Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. The midfield void has thus far been filled, on occasion, by Harvey Elliott, the promising youngster who returned from a successful loan spell in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers.
It is perhaps a reminder that Liverpool are looking at a long-term approach when considering the balance of their team. Therefore, if they are to sign a new midfielder in an upcoming transfer window, 18-year-old Bellingham may be a wise investment.
And asked about the links by Football Insider, ex-Premier League player Noel Whelan echoed that sentiment.
“Wow, he would be an amazing signing,” Whelan said.
“I thought he was excellent against Andorra. I’m always excited to watch him. He ticks every single box as a midfielder.
“He has good stature, a good engine, a great passing range and vision. I love the little drag backs and nutmegs. He is just technically very gifted. The complete midfield player.
“I’m sure it’s not just Liverpool keeping an eye on him because he is a really, really exciting prospect. A lot of the top clubs in Europe will be interested.”
Bellingham is under contract with Dortmund until June 2025 and has played in all three of their Bundesliga games so far this season as a starter. He also earned his first home start for England in their 4-0 win over Andorra at the weekend.
It seems likely he will have a future back in his homeland at club level at some point. For now, Dortmund will be hoping to fend off interest in him for as long as possible, just as they did with Sancho. The winger was subject of an intense pursuit by Man Utd throughout 2020 before finally making the move this summer.
Liverpool questioned over midfielder decision
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s decision not to sign a midfielder over the summer has been brought back into the spotlight by another pundit.
Liverpool should have made a more serious move for Chelsea signing Saul Niguez this summer, according to Kevin Phillips.
Chelsea announced the signing of Saul on deadline day, when he joined from Atletico Madrid. The initial terms of the transfer are a paid loan, but the Blues will have the option to buy him at the end of the season. Only time will tell whether they will or not.
For now, it seems like good business from Chelsea’s part. Their total outlay for him, should the transfer become permanent, will be €40m. For a player with 340 games of experience for Atletico and 19 Spain caps, it seems shrewd.
With that in mind, one pundit is now questioning why Liverpool didn’t try harder to sign him. Jurgen Klopp’s side were linked with Saul earlier in the summer and there were even reports of an opening bid.
“Chelsea have made some good signings,” Phillips said.
“Niguez is just another piece of the jigsaw that will push them towards the title.
“I’m surprised Liverpool didn’t go for him. In that area, for that money, he could add some competition in that midfield area.
“I’m surprised at Liverpool’s lack of effort towards transfers. In time we might find out what happened.
“Niguez is a quality player who would have strengthened Liverpool’s squad.”