Bellingham leaning towards Real Madrid over Liverpool

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 26 Sep 2022 16:05 BST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 26 Sep 2022 16:05 BST 3 min read
Jude Bellingham, Dortmund, 2022/23

Jude Bellingham has long been identified as Liverpool's top transfer target next summer, but Real Madrid are reportedly the reason the England midfielder is yet to extend his contract with Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham's current deal with Dortmund expires in June 2025, and the player rated at €74 million by Football Transfers' in-house algorithm could now be available for €93m so long as the Bundesliga outfit receive that fee in one instalment.

Bellingham was one of the few players who emerged from England's UEFA Nations League relegation with his reputation enhanced, and Liverpool only signed Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus amid their recent midfield injury crisis with an eye on securing Bellingham's signature next summer.

But Real Madrid could be ready to steal in.

"Real Madrid have been eyeing Bellingham since before the midfielder joined Borussia Dortmund in 2019," report Marca. "The club first made contact with the player in 2022, when unsure if [Aurelien] Tchouameni would agree to join.

"While Real Madrid eventually completed the transfer of Tchouameni, the club also asked Bellingham and his representatives not to renew the player's contract with Dortmund… despite being pressured to extend his contract, Bellingham has so far kept his word."

Competition in midfield

Real eventually paid Monaco €100 million for Tchouameni, and Bellingham might face fierce competition for a place in the Spanish and European champions' midfield, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Eduardo Camavinga also on the books at the Bernabeu.

"You have to remember Real Madrid have Tchouameni, they have Camavinga, Kroos and Modric are still there," Gabby Agbonlahor told Football Insider recently. "Bellingham's 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."

But Modric and Kroos are 37 and 32 respectively at the end of the season, and both out of contract - as is Dani Ceballos, another option in midfield.

Real are also preparing for the future throughout the squad, and raised €80m of Bellingham's potential fee in allowing the 30-year-old Casemiro to leave for Manchester United this summer.