Liverpool, Man Utd, Real Madrid? Which club suits Bellingham?

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is one of the names on everyone’s lips when it comes to who is the best young player in world football. (He was ranked 4th on ESPN’s 39th U21 list as of April.)

Just 19, Bellingham has made his mark in the German Bundesliga over the past two years since making a €30million transfer from Birmingham City in 2020. Now Dortmund value his services at over €120m, but with no release clause in his contract (unlike Erling Haaland, who joined Manchester City from Dortmund for €60m this summer), there’s no limit for Bellingham.

Some of the top clubs in Europe have been wanting the England international, so who needs him the most? And what goes with his playstyle?

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Liverpool are crying out for a midfielder with Bellingham’s technical and physical attributes. While manager Jurgen Klopp prepares the club for the next phase of development, the entire midfield could be set for a makeover in the next few transfer windows. Injuries or poor form meant Klopp had to tinker in midfield without seemingly finding the right combinations.

Not only have injuries prevented Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from achieving a consistent run at the team, but the next generation of 21-year-old Curtis Jones and 19-year-old Harvey Elliott have yet to prove their long-term future lies in the midfield. Then there’s the question of how much longer veterans James Milner (36) and Jordan Henderson (32) can handle the intensity and momentum required to get through 40-50 games a season. The only thing that is certain is that Fabinho (28) will set the anchor.

With all the uncertainty surrounding Liverpool’s current midfield, Bellingham’s athleticism (he rarely misses a game) and versatility would be perfect for Klopp, while he could potentially fill the playmaking duties of another injury-prone midfielder: Thiago Alcantara. But one question remains: how big would Bellingham’s appetite be to join a side that’s still in the works? He would be a central part of any team he joins but at Anfield he could end up being tossed about rather than being cast into a more solid role.



Manchester City’s midfield appears to be a smooth and well-oiled machine, but there are still some reasons why interest in Bellingham is being reported by the Manchester blue side. While the holding midfield role is well covered by Rodri and Kalvin Phillips, Guardiola’s tendency to leave room for roaming, position changes and creativity among the more advanced central attacking midfielders would suit Bellingham well. Indeed, the ex-Birmingham star’s versatility – his previous ventures include as a wide midfielder and No10 – would likely have Pep Guardiola rubbing his hands in anticipation.

Additionally, the long-term future of Bernardo Silva – with reported interest from both Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain – could again become an issue in the summer, while Ilkay Gündogan’s current contract expires in 2023. The club are keen to plan ahead – in the knowledge that Box -to-box midfielders of Bellingham’s quality, age and flexibility are rare – one would expect City to be at the forefront of developments.

With the 19-year-old already having developed a good understanding with Phil Foden at the England side and seeing how easily his former Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland has settled at Etihad, he will not be short of voices raising a move at Etihad should City decide to pursue their interests.



In a team that generally lacks momentum and fluid runners in midfield, Bellingham manager Erik ten Hag would offer a number of options at Old Trafford. With United missing out on the signing of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong in the summer, Bellingham would offer some of the same qualities and potentially more.

While de Jong is arguably the more strategic midfielder of the pair, Bellingham also enjoys picking up the ball from deep and improving his passing range. However, it is the latter’s ability to combine defense and attack with his pressure-resistant dribbling and ball transports that could make him the missing link at Old Trafford. He would also add a penetrating threat that Manchester United’s midfield is sorely lacking at the moment.

United have two players who could perform similar roles – Fred and Donny van de Beek – but neither are yet having the impact expected, so Bellingham’s potential capture could prove to be one of the club’s most important signings of the past decade.



Although there are already a plethora of options in central midfield, the La Liga and European champions are said to still be interested in Bellingham. As evidenced by their spending on world-class talent such as Eduardo Camavinga (€31m) and Aurelien Tchouameni (€80m), the Spanish giants are ever-present whenever the opportunity to attract the best young players arises. The temptation to add another at Bellingham could still be within their technical requirements and financial capabilities, provided they don’t make another game to sign PSG striker Kylian Mbappe.

While Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, Camavinga and Tchouameni were all battling for places, there was much debate over how Real Madrid could fit all of their stars into a well-functioning midfield ahead of Casemiro’s €70m transfer Manchester United cleared some space.

So it’s not hard to imagine that a year from now, Bellingham will find a natural place in the Bernabeu midfield. Modric, 37, and Kroos, 32, will then be out of contract but the Englishman could theoretically replace both, making him a huge attraction. Two such high-profile departures would leave Valverde (24) as Carlos Ancelotti’s most experienced central midfield regular, but the sheer quality and compatibility of the potential quartet would still make Madrid favorites to repeat their domestic and European glory.



Craig Burley discusses how Graham Potter will deal with Chelsea’s veteran players.



Chelsea certainly have the cash to compete for Bellingham’s signature, but their interest may depend on how Carney Chukwuemeka develops over the course of this season. With skills not too far removed from Bellingham – some similarities include their top-notch ball development, superb dribbling skills in crowded areas and ability to make a big impact on switches – Chukwuemeka can spend big in midfield, making it redundant after his 15- Million-pound move from Aston Villa this summer. Although he is yet to make his senior debut for the club, he may not be far off.

But while Chelsea aren’t lacking in numbers in central midfield, the side are still missing a crucial player who can provide game-changing runs and creativity in the last third. As much as Bellingham and new manager Graham Potter appear as a compatible pair – his eager pressing game would be particularly appreciated – Chelsea could find it difficult to convince the 19-year-old to join them given the other options on the table.



Of course there is always the option of staying in Dortmund. Bellingham knows the team and fits the style well, having recorded 13 goals and 18 assists in his 100 games to date.

The midfielder’s contract doesn’t expire until 2025, so the ball lies with Dortmund for around next year, but the Bundesliga side are keen to extend it – potentially with a corresponding large release clause of around €150m.

Bellingham is only 19, so he will have plenty of time to think about his long-term future. Liverpool, Man Utd, Real Madrid? Which club suits Bellingham?

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