Liverpool Football Club and the Enigma of Jude Bellingham
Life at Liverpool Football Club couldn’t have been much rosier than it has been for the past seven years.
In fact, this summer alone couldn’t offer the Anfield faithful much more good news to sing about, and Liverpool fans are gearing up for another scintillating ride on Jurgen Klopp’s rollercoaster.
In the space of a month, we’ve seen the Reds beat (potentially) record transfer fees by signing one of the most sought-after staples and centre-forwards in Darwin Nunez.
Liverpool have bid farewell to a few club legends in Sadio Mane and Divock Origi (as well as fan favorite Taki Minamino) and are once again adopting the policy of signing exciting young talent whose ceiling of potential is immeasurable, at young Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay.
Then, of course, there was this hit ad seemingly out of nowhere: #SalahStays. A saga that probably deserves its own Amazon Prime documentary, was finally resolved this week with the news that The Egyptian King is on Merseyside for another three years.
Reds fans will raise a Mythos glass to that.
And yet, there is still an “again”.
Liverpool’s Premier League rivals go from strength to strength
Manchester City have brought in a prolific hitman in the form of Erling Haaland, whose aim is to take the league by storm and capture whatever he can before moving to Real Madrid in a few seasons.
The arrival of talented Englishman Kalvin Phillips, replacing former statesman Fernandinho, adds even more quality to an embarrassingly rich squad. that’s before Marc Cucarella joined the Citizens.
While it may not be the direct Premier League title threat the Reds are looking for, Tottenham Hotspur have arguably had the transfer window of a lifetime, adding some much-needed strength in depth to his starting XI.
Antonio Conte has certainly been backed by the usually tight-fisted Daniel Levy and will look to build on his top-four finish with a higher position next season.
The window was simply electrifying.
Raheem Sterling seems linked with Chelsea; Ronaldo gave his notice and left to seek more club and individual glory; Gabriel Jesus has moved to Arsenal and there are still many twists and turns to come in this enigmatic market.
But Liverpool still have a ‘still’ looming silently above their slightly shadowed heads.
The Reds will no doubt be competing for top honors again this season, but…
Come in, Jude Bellingham
In Stourbridge, England, on June 29e 2003, a young man who has been labeled as “generational”, graced the world with his presence.
The midfield wizard joined Birmingham City’s academy aged 8 and left the club with 41 first-team appearances to his name, making such an impression on the Blues that they would retire shirt number 22 “to remember one of our own and to inspire others.”
Bellingham has in fact rejected the possibility of signing for the Reds’ biggest rivals, Manchester United; deciding to follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho and ply his trade at Borussia Dortmund in his quest for first-team football at the highest level; a decision he never gave up on.
Two years later, he finds himself today as the hottest midfield maestro in world football.
Bellingham has recorded 60 appearances for BVB, scoring four goals and registering eleven assists, but his game transcends simple facts and figures.
Dortmund’s number 22 encompasses everything a midfielder should be; technical, visionary, direct, combative and creative. Jobe’s older brother certainly seems to have the lot.
Which brings us to “again”.
Liverpool had a successful window, but… could they now get even better?
Although BVB have lost their talisman to Erling Haaland and are adamant it’won’t sell‘ Jude Bellingham this window, they also put a price tag on the 19-year-old who just turned.
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The figure stands at €120m, or around £100m. The cynic in me wants to ask Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl that if a player is not for sale, why does he have a price that does not exactly warn potential suitors, but perhaps encourages them? does he?
Say, for the love of sayings, that Liverpool (or God forbid) meet those requirements, we would expect the offer to be accepted, because that’s what Dortmund’s requirements are.
So, by all accounts, Jude Bellingham is now for sale?
If Dortmund were to sell, with their demands met, their fans can rejoice and be content to know that the club (again) have done good business and can reinvest with the huge sums of money accumulated; finally ending the stranglehold on the Bundesliga that Bayern maintained ruthlessly for years.
For the club that holds Jude Bellingham’s signature: they’ve acquired one of the most promising youngsters in world football…seems like everyone’s a winner, right?
Which brings me to the title of this article: The Jude Bellingham Enigma.
Bellingham is undoubtedly a talent, a superstar for the world stage whose game knows no bounds and whose talent knows no bounds. Dortmund, although they may not want to sell this window, have set their stand at €120m.
The potential problem for Liverpool, and indeed the Madrid of the world, is this: if Bellingham has another great season in the Bundesliga or an impressive outing at the next World Cup for England, his value will be well above the 120 million euros from the BVB. are currently asking.
Not to mention the fact that every team with the money to spend on an unfilled midfield position in the next ten years would have their ears strained to try and land this supreme star.
€120m next season could be the starting price of the auction, not the final price as it is this season.
We have seen it even in this window, Liverpool does not like to get into a higher bid if the players’ preference goes elsewhere (see Aurélien Tchoumanei).
Then there’s the fact that big spenders are seemingly spent. Madrid paid an exorbitant fee for the aforementioned Tchouameni; Barcelona’s priorities were elsewhere; Chelsea need a centre-back and City have just splashed out £45million on Phillips and took Dortmund’s pockets with Haaland.
For Liverpool, it may be a buyer’s market as other ‘big team’ priorities are elsewhere this season.
Although Bellingham’s father is an avowed fan of Liverpool, or at least the Beatles (Hey, Jude), the Reds have arguably the best coaching staff in the world to help Jude fulfill his potential, but sometimes we’ve seen in the past, things haven’t always worked out so simply for the Reds.
The elephant in the room would be those comparing the storyline to Jadon Sancho, who at one point was valued by Dortmund at £100-110m, only to later move to Manchester United for £85m a season.
It is indeed possible that Bellingham won’t have another great season or star in the World Cup, but is that a risk worth taking?
Then there’s the ‘Naby Keita deal’ in terms of pre-contract. Dortmund, above all, is not fooled. Surely they would never smartly allow such a deal to exist when Bellingham’s value could skyrocket in a year’s time; and after all, they don’t really need the money.
Keita is rumored to have a release clause in his contract which affects one year after Liverpool pulled the trigger, using the pre-contract as a way to help Leipzig plan Keita’s exit with a year’s grace, paying the release clause a year early but also paying it so RB can invest a year in advance – nothing like it exists in The Bellingham Contract.
If Liverpool want Bellingham, there’s an argument to be made that now is the time to strike, before its valuation reaches astronomical levels and more sharks start circling.
It is now
Like so many others, I realize that the Reds are not ruled by oligarchs, kings or oil merchants; Liverpool aren’t cash-rich on their hips with pockets full of US dollars, especially now that not only has the transfer record been (/could have) been broken, but also the infamous wage structure with Salah’s renewed contract was burned.
Liverpool and FSG have always struck delicately, subtly and with the utmost efficiency when needed. Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker and Darwin Nunez testify to FSG’s ruthless ways when a player they want becomes available… and guess what, for just €120m Bellingham could be linked with Anfield.
That is ultimately the question (and risk) facing the Reds; it really is a stick-or-twist scenario that may not be worth it if Bellingham reaches the dizzying heights that many of us think he can in the next twelve months.
So let him out and let him in, hey Jude, start,
You are waiting for someone to play with.
Liverpool are an extremely well-run club that are expanding the stadium, breaking salary and transfer records and backing Jurgen Klopp, all while balancing the books. It is a club that is always looking to excel and grow, to do what is best for the fans and the players.
The #FSGOUT brigade has never been so quiet… and yet…