Written by James Cranford – @jamescranford89
Following the postponement of last weekend’s Premier League games, fans have had to wait to get their football fix with the second round of Champions League group stage fixtures. Both Liverpool and Manchester City earned 2-1 home victories, but did not have everything their own way.
The Reds put in an improved showing against a talented Ajax side. Long-term transfer target Jude Bellingham got himself on the scoresheet at the Etihad, and has now scored more Champions League goals as a teenager than any other Englishman.
Bellingham has been seen as ‘the answer’ and preferred midfield target by many Liverpool fans and pundits. Pep Guardiola was full of praise for the 19-year-old in his post-match press conference – could this be a declaration of interest in the talented youngster?
On the latest episode of our Journo Insight Show, one of our Redmen TV Club Legends asked goal.com’s Neil Jones for his take on Jude Bellingham’s future.
“Liverpool want him, Jude Bellingham. The educated take on him is that he leaves Dortmund next summer, almost 100%. That was made clear that he’s not going anywhere this year. One star leaves, generally, in the summer. I think there are a couple of examples where more have, but they were never going to sell both of their crown jewels. I think Liverpool will be in the race.
Who needs him? Do Real Madrid need him? If you look at Real Madrid and say, well, they’ve already put plans in place for their midfield for the next five years. Possibly you might see them. Do Barcelona need him? They’re going build around Pedri and Gavi. Does he want to play for PSG?
I would expect more of Jude Bellingham than to go to PSG at 20. So, you could maybe rule them out. Then you look and say Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, United would come into that, Bayern Munich possibly. I think he’s going to come to the Premier League. I think Liverpool have got a chance, but I think the rivals are the traditional rivals. I think Liverpool will be in the mix. They’ve almost painted themselves into a corner where they have to be in the mix.”
After being pipped to the signing of Aurélien Tchouaméni by Real Madrid, Liverpool desperately do not want to miss out on their top target for a second season in succession. The Reds have never paid over £100million for a player, which feels more like the sort of fee one of their Premier League rivals would be prepared to cough up.
FSG have, however, broken the transfer record for both a defender and goalkeeper in the past, so are not averse to paying large fees for long-term targets. Pep Guardiola’s positivity towards Bellingham could simply be an honest reaction to a good performance against his side.
Publicly praising a potential future signing was part of the Alex Ferguson playbook, so do not be surprised to see Manchester City in the race for his signature. Liverpool managed to beat City to the signing of Virgil van Dijk, and Klopp’s Dortmund connection could put us at an advantage. Hopefully Reds fans will be able to say ‘Hey’ to Jude next summer!