The battle for Bellingham – which club is leading the race?

By | September 22, 2022

Jude Bellingham looks likely to be the next big transfer saga with Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid all interested in signing him next summer.

But which club is leading the race? Join James Pearce, Rafael Honigstein, Jack Pitt-Brooke and Mark Chapman as they assess the current situation…

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I wonder whether and this is pure Speculation on my part where the Bellingham might think well if I joined Liverpool in 2023 would I be joining a Club moving in the right direction or The wrong direction So with us for this one uh the Athletics Rapha honeystein who covers German Football for us we've got Jack pick Brooke who covers England uh and James Pierce our Liverpool writer he's written A big old read on the battle for Bellingham and I suppose James the fact That you are on is a clue to who we Think are the favorites to sign him Domestically at least would that be fair I think I think certainly the club you You'd say Um have the greatest need and and Certainly probably I don't think anyone Admires him more than than Jurgen klopp And Liverpool's recruitment staff who Who viewed Jude Bellingham as the Complete box-to-box midfielder Um and I think when you also when you Look at what's coming up on the horizon With Liverpool's Midfield needing a Major revamp in 2023 when you've got a Situation with Cato say Chamberlain and Milner all out of contract Um yeah I think I think that is why Liverpool's interest is so strong but I Think the caveat to that is they also Know that they will have some serious

Competition for his signature Although I particularly like RAF Smile As I asked that question to James which Sort of indicated oh there they go the Arrogant English thinking that he'll Leave Dortmund at the end of this season I wouldn't go that far I think Dortmund Uh Are not stupid they are aware that Jude Bellingham is probably not going to end Up a Dortmund Legend with 500 Bundesliga Games But there is a degree of confidence when You talk to them that this is not a Foregone conclusion I think they've been in very close Contact with the with the parents and The dude himself and they haven't Received any indication that they're Desperate to leave I think it's a little Bit different to the Jade and Sancho Situation where everyone knew That he was off in the end it was almost A surprise that he stayed that extra Year because I don't think they could Agree A fee with man united at the time I think now there is still The assumption that he's more likely to Go than not But there's a sizable Possibility in their mind that he might Be able to that they might be able to Extend with him

Of course the World Cup complicates Things Because if he has a fantastic World Cup And I think there's every chance he'll Be he'll be a starter and be very good For England It might make it more difficult for Dogma than to persuade them to just to Basically say you know don't go too Early you're not quite ready make sure That you go to England as a fully formed Player If he as he has done throughout his Career kind of supercharges that Progress and that development they might Not be able to keep it I think that that at that point we Should do before before we come on to England really which is As I'm sure most listeners know Prussia Dortmund seemed to always Sell the player at the right time when It suits everybody in the main unless It's Bayern Munich coming for them maybe I I don't know so but but they seem to Have grown-up conversations with their Players would that be fair when it comes To development and how long they should Stay Yeah some players are more Amenable to that than others I think Negotiations would mean Holland weren't That easy Um this is slightly different

Um also as an aside Bayern Munich Haven't bought any Dortmund players in Seven years now Some people in Munich wish that they Might have in the meantime because there Were certainly some really good players Um I think in this case Throughout This day Dopeman have always stressed How impressed they are with both him and The family when it comes to the maturity Of dealing with the situation when it Comes to having a very clear idea of What they're trying to do with him There's never been a danger of him Losing his head or the parents being you Know persuaded by agents to do something That's not right for the players it's Been for the players been from the very First moment that he got through the Door that's why I think there is there Is that slight hope still I think under Normal circumstances we probably have Would have reached a point where Dolphins feel okay two years to go the World Cup coming up he's Playing better every week That's probably the end he's an English Player wants to go back to England That's fair enough that's almost kind of Baked into the the deal in the first Place that he goes to Dortmund to learn How to play to raise his profile to

Become a really run the player and then He moves on But they're still hoping that the story Might not be over just yet Word Dortmund surprised by the player They got or how he developed as quickly As he did with them It's definitely the letter Um I remember having a conversation I Was saying why you know We give them time we won't make to put Too much pressure on him little by Little he'll get a bit more game time But they gave me the guy basically Starts Straight away and then becomes a regular Straight away and then becomes almost Sort of the the captain of the side in Terms of his importance and presence and Every step along the way he is Overachieving and he's quicker than than People think he is and And this is not this is not a guy sort Of her hitting a Purple Patch and sort Of everything works for him this is all Hard work and an ability and willingness To learn from the beginning they were Talking about the fact that he put Himself in the dressing room next to the Most experienced players not with the Youngsters he wanted to learn from them Wanted to see how they're getting Dressed what they're doing before a game How they react to the feet how they

React to win Always sort of soaking up information And you can see a lot of that on the Pitch you can see how every game in the Words of Auto Otto the assistant coach She he seems to Do what others do sort of in six months He he does it in in a couple of weeks Time in terms of just Feeding in um information and making Sure that he he learns from his his own Mistakes but also from the stuff he does Well and exceedingly well most of it Uh let's look at the um the battle for Him then James and there was already Before he even went to Dortmund I mean Manchester United watched him 46 times since the age of 12 and the Message that kept coming back was sign Him sign him sign him And then they didn't want to pay is that Right Yep that's that's correct I mean you Could you go back beyond that really I Mean obviously he obviously signed Signed for Birmingham when he was under Eights and at the age of 11 that that's Where Liverpool's interest kind of stems Back to he he spent a few days at the Kirby Academy then and Liverpool were Desperate to bring him on board Obviously would have involved his family Relocating from the Midlands to the North west and him going to school at

Rainhill high school near to near to Whether Kirby Academy is but and Liverpool were gutted that um you know After a couple of days there is is his Family decided to to stay put and then Um you know that was and then then You're right yeah you know at the age of What 15 16 when with birmingham's Blessing you know they obviously had Well documented Financial issues at the Time they knew that they were going to Lose him in the near future and Certainly I think yeah when he went to Dortmund United were the probably the The biggest other option I think on the Table in terms because of the amount of Groundwork they put into it which I Think has to be factored into the race Currently Um yeah he was shown around Carrington Um but yeah there were some doubts I Think there's you know certainly figures That United feel that they could have Done more in terms of um you know really Pushing the boat out maybe financially To to try and to try and uh to to get to Get him on board but you know I think The other side of that is you know you I Think his parents Mark and Denise who Are you know have always you know Carefully guided his career and Continued to do so to this day you know I think they also you know forgetting The financial side they felt that

Germany was the the best step for his Development because you know I think What they what they wanted more than Anything was uh was guarantees over Overplaying time and opportunities that Would follow and you know you'd have to Say that it was it was a it was it's Turned out to be a very shrewd next step For him uh absolutely because the is no Gary I mean Chelsea were in for him as Well Jack but With both United and Chelsea that would Be absolutely no guarantee that if he Had gone there either of those clubs Would be seeing the Jude Bellingham that We're seeing at the moment Yeah I completely agree I mean I think Dortmund is Probably the probably the best club in The world for you for making that final Development step for a very talented Young player Um you know it's no it's no surprise why Keep good players keep going there and I I'm sure you're right to say he wouldn't Have been as good if he'd gone into the Mess that Manchester United had been for The last few years I think it also helped that As much as Dublin are a huge club and of Course there's a lot of spotlights on Them in Germany you're still slightly Under the radar as far as England is Concerned I mean they will recognize you

In the big games Southgate might come Over when they're playing Bayern Munich You see them in the Champions League but On a day-to-day basis you can basically Develop as a young English player almost In peace the local media is very Football orientated you won't get anyone Taking photos of you doing the wrong Thing I don't think Bellingham is to Type for that anyway but just generally Speaking you are being left alone to a Certain extent and again I think for a Young English player to almost leave That hide behind or park that hype a Little bit is is really beneficial You mentioned his parents James and uh When when putting the article together Here look you can throw out the The Usual Suspects as we have done a little Bit already and we'll expand on that But given Given his career path so far as you say Not not going to Liverpool and staying With his local side but then being very Open about where he was going to move Next with his parents at 15 16 and that Sounds like quite a grown-up Relationship with Birmingham and that They were very open and and how they Talked about it is there Do you think actually behind the scenes There may be an option that would Surprise us all given that they always Seem to do what's best what's best and

That isn't always the case in football Yeah I mean I think I think the only Issue with that would be the you know Who else could possibly live up to the Financial side of of trying making this A reality because I think I think the Numbers involve you know automatically Rule out uh you know a lot of clubs to Burn to buy him to buy what he would ask For but to buy him yeah yeah yeah yeah I Think I think I think you know you know Even what does he doubt he'll be down to The last two years of his his current Deal next summer Um which clearly looks like you know the The kind of first available opportunity Really for Israel suitors to kind of Firm up that interest in him Um But you know if the Dortmund value in Around 150 million Euros so what was That 130 million pounds and you know That's why I think I'd I'd be amazed if We saw anyone else you know I think Probably only PSG in World football You'd say you could could potentially Come up with that kind of cash apart From you know the ones we've mentioned You know Real Madrid United City Chelsea And Liverpool and even you know that That's why I think when you speak to People at Liverpool the you know the the Caveat is will the numbers get too big You know will it will it reach a point

Where you just go well hang on a minute You know that despite his huge potential And despite the fact you know you know I Think Liverpool look upon him as someone Who could you know could be at the Absolute heart of that midfield for the Next decade Um you know it's a it's a long-term Investment but you know the the numbers Still could get crazy especially when You factor in the wages Barcelona might find another lever On the um on the uh where does Champions League football fit fit into this then With say within the first season Yeah well I don't I I can't imagine he Would he would go anywhere that that Doesn't that doesn't guarantee that so Um that that's where I think when you When you look at it the situation at the Moment there is I don't think there is a Any clear You know kind of pathway at the moment In terms of well you know it's looking Increasingly likely he'll go to to to That place because I think there's so Much up in the air you know you look at The issues that Jurgen klopp is Grappling with it at Liverpool currently You know you look at you know United you Know are they you know there's there's Obviously promising signs under 10 hard The the you know are they going to be Back amongst Europe's Elite next season

You know Chelsea again you know you know Obviously a lot of change there what Kind of position are they gonna be in Next summer Um you know we know the the pulling Power of city and I thought it was Telling that Pep Guardiola you know Eulogized about him after that game at The Etihad last week describe them as as Exceptional and um you know and then you Know you factor in Real Madrid as well I Know there was a Bellingham quote Recently about you know is is adoration For Zinedine Zidane and now he spends a Lot of his time watching clips of of him And you know on the face of it you look At Real Madrid and you think well you Know do they have quite the the same Need as some of the others when you look At you know how youthful and dynamic and Vibrant their Midfield is currently Um but of course Um you know Luca Modric can't go on Forever Website both Arsenal and Tottenham make The champions league for next season Jack Uh I can't see either of them being in The mix to be honest I think that it's Just not consistent with their policy to Spend What would be a nine figure sum on a Player it's not something that either of Them have ever done uh and I imagine

That Bellingham would probably rather go To a team that is you know routinely Winning and challenging for titles and The Champions League Where do you think he would look rough I Don't know we're speculating here but Impossible to to know I think the fact That he came close to moving to United Once gives them a good chance to to make It happen Liverpool as James has said looks like a Very good fit the question is can they Pay The Dortmund premium because we Shouldn't forget that there is still a Two two and a half year deal here Dortmund I don't think we'll keep play against His wishes but they want to Make sure that any compensation will not Just replace him but actually strengthen The team maybe in two or three positions So that brings us to some Well well beyond 100 million euros 150 Has been mentioned I think Dublin would Love to achieve that whether that is Realistic I'm not sure but Then it makes it difficult I think for Liverpool Even if they have An agreement or if they get an agreement With the player We're getting into a situation where I Think the fee might be prohibited and

Then it's going to be interesting what Will happen because Are not stupid they know that Next year he will be will be cheaper With having only one year left But How cheap how much cheaper and will they Just Wait until somebody else comes around And and pay that money I mean it's going To be really interesting I think what's Going to happen Um I would I would think around about Maybe February March when when these Kind of moves tend to get serious Um yeah should be should be interesting And because of because of that financial Implications of such a move I think it's Very difficult to To predict that he's going to go to Club A or B because whoever will take him it Is a serious outlay I mean we're talking About sort of the most important the Most expensive player I think that any Club has bought In recent years So it's going to be it's not going to be Straightforward Did you reach conclusion at the end of The article James Um not a definitive one no only that Um it'll take some very deep pockets and A and a very compelling PowerPoint presentation to to win the

Day Um I think as Rafa said I just think It's too far out at the moment to to Make any kind of bold predictions on on Where this will end I think all we do Know is it's it's going to be absolutely Intriguing from a liberal perspective we Know that one of the reasons why they Were reluctant to to kind of throw money At their their Midfield this summer was That you know they that that their Targets they really wanted weren't Available Um at Bellingham certainly fits into That category and I was there when clock Was asked just before the preseason tour Of Asia you know about the speculation They could have rebelling him and he Said well the problem is he's not on the Market well well actually that is the Only problem with him which um and he Gave you one of those rice Smiles that That told you everything you needed to Know about is admiration for him but um You know and certainly you know klopp's Track record of developing young players And you know you've got the other Factors like you know the bond the Bellingham has Jordan Henderson from England Duty you know the um you know The way that he grew up idolizing A legendary Liverpool figure like Stephen Gerrard but you know despite all Of that

Um yeah as Rafa said you know it you Know ultimately it will come down to the Numbers and whether Liverpool can make That work I wonder what the I want I just wonder What Bellingham will think about Liverpool's succession planning and Whether or not Liverpool are heading up Upwards or downwards because you know James obviously knows more about much More about Liverpool than I do but Watching Liverpool at times this season You know you wonder if they're a team That have peaked if they're a team in Decline if a team that haven't really Managed the kind of succession planning Especially well in the last few years And if I wonder whether and this is pure Speculation on my part where the Bellingham might have think well if I Joined Liverpool in 2023 would I be Joining a club moving in the right Direction or the wrong direction Foreign