Liverpool pull out of race to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund | Liverpool
- Club long linked with summer move for England midfielder
- £135m-plus cost deemed too much given need to overhaul squad
Liverpool have decided not to pursue a deal for Jude Bellingham this summer as the cost of signing the England international would restrict the planned overhaul of Jürgen Klopp’s squad.
The 19-year-old has been a leading transfer target for Liverpool for more than a year but the overall price of signing the midfielder alongside the possibility that Borussia Dortmund might refuse to sell, plus the number of positions that need addressing at the end of a disappointing seasonhas led to the club pulling out of the race. Real Madrid, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are among the clubs who retain an interest.
Dortmund are believed to want around £135m plus add-ons should they decide to sell their prized asset this summer, with Bellingham’s valuation rising considerably since his impressive performances at the World Cup. The combined package of transfer fee, agents’ fees plus the player’s lucrative salary would severely limit Liverpool’s ability to sign other players this summer. After a season that has exposed the need for a major overhaul of Klopp’s squad, and could result in failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the manager’s debut campaign, the club’s hierarchy believes their resources should be spread elsewhere.
Klopp has told the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, to move swiftly on transfer deals having lost out to Real Madrid in the pursuit of midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni last summer. A drawn-out battle for Bellingham’s signature would increase the risk of other targets moving elsewhere and Liverpool accept they cannot afford to miss out on several alternative options. Chelsea’s Mason Mount, Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo, Matheus Nunes of Wolves and Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich are among the midfielders of interest.
The decision to withdraw from the Bellingham race will be unpopular among Liverpool fans but Klopp hinted at such a development at his press conference on Friday. “Whatever we do next year will never be enough from peoples’ point of view and your point of view, but with smart recruitment we will improve – definitely,” he said. “That is the plan.”
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