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Could an injury jeopardise Jude Bellingham’s move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid?

Amidst concerning reports in England, Dortmund have said little about the knee injury that forced Bellingham to sit out their Bundesliga run-in.

Update:
Amidst concerning reports in England, Dortmund have said little about the knee injury that forced Bellingham to sit out their Bundesliga run-in.
LEON KUEGELERREUTERS

One of the subplots to Borussia Dortmund’s final-day Bundesliga collapse was that midfield star Jude Bellingham was unable to take part in what could’ve been his last game for the club due to injury. While attention now inevitably turns to his future, there are also serious concerns over his right knee, with reports suggesting that he will be forced to undergo surgery this summer, the very one in which Real Madrid have made him their main transfer target.

Bellingham close to agreeing Madrid deal

The 19-year-old was an unused substitute as his teammates stumbled to a draw against Mainz on Saturday and didn’t make the matchday squad for the previous game against Augsburg. Dortmund have refrained from commenting on his injury, which has set alarm bell ringing in his homeland and could even put his move to Madrid, which is all but finalised after months of talks, in jeopardy.

Dortmund star could sit out England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers

According to the Daily Mail, Bellingham is in serious danger of missing England’s two Euro 2024 qualifiers in June and could have to go under the knife. Manager Gareth Southgate included the midfielder on his roster for the games against Malta on 16 June and North Macedonia on 19 June but it looks likely he will be forced to withdraw before the squad meets up on the weekend of the 10 and 11 June.

Terzic coy on Bellingham’s Dortmund absence

Little is being given away in Germany, meanwhile. As mentioned, Dortmund have refused to comment, while head coach Edin Terzic gave the following explanation for Bellingham’s absence on Saturday: “He looked pretty good to me but he approached me hours before the game, and told me in private that he wasn’t 100% ready to help the team and that it would be better if someone else played in his place. He has worked very hard in the last few days to be on the field. But he didn’t feel right in the pre-match warm-up either”.

Caution or something more serious?

Of course, there have been numerous theories about what’s really going on, from speculation that Bellingham didn’t want to risk aggravating his injury to ensure his move to Real Madrid would still go ahead, to the reports that surgery is imminent.

The fact that Dortmund are listed on the stock market could even be a factor. The club’s financial model is that of selling their star players for big money every summer (Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembélé) and Bellingham is that man in 2023.

Bellingham’s knees a cause for concern

This isn’t the first time this season that one of Bellingham’s knees has been under scrutiny. Since the 2022 World Cup, the England international has played with a bandage on his left knee. The player himself has played down fears of a serious issue, claiming that it simply made him feel better. However, it’s the opposite knee which is now the cause for concern, with Dortmund missing out on the Bundesliga title with their stand-out performer on the sidelines.

England, it seems, are worried too, so what does that mean for Real Madrid? If he is ultimately forced to undergo surgery, could his move to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu be delayed or even at risk?