Real Madrid closing in on Borussia Dortmund, England star Bellingham
With Liverpool turning their attentions to Enzo Fernández and Sofyan Amrabat, Real Madrid look to be leading the chase to sign Jude Bellingham.
Jude Bellingham’s stellar performances for England at the 2022 World Cup have strengthened Real Madrid’s resolve to sign the Borussia Dortmund midfielder. And the signals they’re getting from the 19-year-old are positive: he’d rather move to the Bernabéu than join a Premier League club.
Liverpool shift focus to Fernández and Amrabat
In Bellingham’s native country, a group of teams have been tipped to snap up the youngster: chiefly Liverpool, but also Chelsea and Manchester United. However, reports in the UK say the Reds are now so pessimistic about making a deal happen that they’re looking at other players who are of interest to head coach Jürgen Klopp and who, like Bellingham, stood out at the World Cup. The targets Liverpool have identified are Enzo Fernández and Sofyan Amrabat.
Fernández’s current club, Benfica, are not prepared to let the Argentina midfielder leave on the cheap. In the wake of the 21-year-old’s starring role in his country’s World Cup win, the Portuguese club are intent on selling him for his buy-out fee of €120 million.
Amrabat, meanwhile, is likely to be more affordable. The 26-year-old, who was a key figure in Morocco’s surprise run to the semi-finals in Qatar, is out of contract at Fiorentina in 2024. For the Serie A club, next summer is the moment to sell him if they’re to avoid the risk of seeing him leave for free 12 months later. Fernández, on the hand, is under contract at Benfica until 2027.
Bellingham deal likely to cost €100m to €150m
Either way, it appears Madrid are now in pole position to sign Bellingham, who is contracted to Dortmund until 2025. Before the World Cup, the Bundesliga club tried to tie the player down to a new agreement that would have netted him a pay rise - and would have included a release clause worth €150m. Aware of the talent they have on their hands, Dortmund knew he would excel in Qatar. However, nothing was signed, and Madrid ought to be able to secure his services for between €100m and €150m…
Madrid’s good Dortmund relations boost prospects of deal
A major draw for Bellingham is Madrid’s historic status within the game - after all, no other team boasts 14 European titles. On top of that, there’s the excellent shape Los Blancos are currently in: they’re the reigning domestic and continental champions, and have the Ballon d’Or holder in their squad.
A further factor fuelling optimism of a Bellingham move to the Spanish capital is Madrid’s excellent relationship with Dortmund. Bernabéu president Florentino Pérez and his German counterpart, Hans-Joachin Watzke, have become firm friends ever since they negotiated Nuri Sahin’s switch from Signal Iduna Park to Madrid back in 2011. In the years that have followed, the pair have done a lot of transfer business, including Sahin’s return to Dortmund on loan, and Achraf Hakimi and Reinier’s temporary switches to the Bundesliga. Dortmund were also highly cooperative when it came to a potential deal over Erling Braut Haaland, albeit Madrid finally went after Kylian Mbappé.