According to rumours, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham has decided to join Real Madrid this summer rather than Liverpool.
The Reds have been eyeing the England international as a big summer target for 2023, having put their search for a new permanent midfielder on hold until then.
Bellingham, who played in England’s 1-0 Nations League loss to Italy last week, has made a mark in Germany after joining Dortmund in 2020 for an initial fee of £25 million from Championship club Birmingham City.
At the age of 19, he has already made 100 appearances for the Bundesliga side, earning him 16 caps for the Three Lions.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City have all expressed interest in Bellingham, with Real Madrid and Barcelona also reportedly interested.
Liverpool has been particularly interested, with rumours claiming that the Reds were willing to wait until 2023 for a new midfielder if it meant landing top target Bellingham.
Liverpool stepped into the transfer market on deadline day for the loan acquisition of Juventus midfielder Arthur, following a number of injuries and a shaky start to the new season.
However, their primary long-term desire remains Bellingham, with rumours today from Spanish daily Marca (via Paisley Gates) that Liverpool has made an offer to Dortmund for Bellingham.
However, Bellingham is not only the Reds’ top target; Real Madrid is also keen on signing him, with the club already contacting his representatives.
And Marca adds that Bellingham has received multiple Premier League offers, but he is expected to turn them all down in favour of a move to Real Madrid.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had made a ‘special emphasis’ that the Reds sign Bellingham next summer, but it appears that they will have to go elsewhere.
Former Premier League striker Gabby Agbonlahor is sceptical of the new rumours, believing Bellingham would prefer Real Madrid to Liverpool.
Agbonlahor told Football Insider: “You have to remember Real Madrid have (Aurelien) Tchouameni, they have (Eduardo) Camavinga, (Toni) Kroos and (Luka) Modric are still there. They’ve got a lot of options, Real Madrid. (Federico) Valverde is another one.
“Bellingham is not going to want to go somewhere where he’s not guaranteed to start and I don’t think he’d start in that Real Madrid midfield.
“He’s probably looking at Liverpool and thinking ‘I’m straight in, I’d play every game’. I think he would choose Liverpool. I don’t think Real Madrid would go in for him, they’ve got enough cover in that position. I don’t think they’d spend the big money on him.
“They might even want him to go to Liverpool and they get him afterwards, after four or five years.”