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Real Madrid’s plan to outmanoeuvre Liverpool for Bellingham

The England international is Real Madrid’s priority this summer. Los Blancos know that Liverpool will make their move. Dortmund is still waiting for a response from the player.

Bellingham, goal of Real Madrid.
Alexander Scheuber/BundesligaGetty

Real Madrid are clear about their main objective for next summer: Jude Bellingham. The club is also keen to sign a top-level striker who will eventually replace Benzema, but that plan is far more complicated due to the lack of viable candidates (with Mbappé or Haaland both out out of reach, the club does not see a clear objective). So Bellingham is the priority - a signing which hopefully will extend Madrid’s step to replenish the midfield, an upgrading process that began a while back with the arrival of players like Valverde, Camavinga, Tchouameni...

Bellingham already knows from Madrid that he is on their agenda and that they will have their proposal in place before June. There is currently no contact with Borussia Dortmund, but that’s not a huge problem - the relationship between the two clubs has been excellent for years and, when the time comes to negotiate, Madrid is confident that the process will be short and satisfactory for all parties.

Bellingham, goal of Real Madrid.
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Bellingham, goal of Real Madrid.THILO SCHMUELGENREUTERS

However, there is an obstacle in the way, one that Madrid has found on a recurring basis, both on the field and in the transfer market: Liverpool. Both teams met in the last Champions League final and will do so again in the next round of this season’s edition. Last summer, the Reds competed with Madrid for Mbappé, although the striker made it clear that he would either stayed at PSG or sign for Madrid. And now Liverpool stand in the way of Madrid’s attempts to sign Bellingham, who is top of Jürgen Klopp’s summer shopping list.

Liverpool’s determination to land Bellingham presents a problem for Madrid. Firstly, like most other Premier League clubs, they have the economic power to lure the midfielder, while Klopp has allies within Dortmund to tip the scales in his favour. It’s hardly surprisingly Klopp is so revered - he helped them to win two Bundesligas, end as runners-up twice and lift another three titles in Germany as well as coming close to winning the Champions League. And there is an extra attraction for the player - the possibility of playing in his home country again - the place he left for Germany in 2020.

Bellingham’s non-meeting with Dortmund

Updates regarding Liverpool’s interest in Bellingham are flowing almost daily. Fabrizio Romano recently reported the English club’s interest and that Klopp is the main promoter of the operation, to the extent that he “calls every day” to find out if any progress has been made. And in Liverpool the right climate is being created; Steven Gerrard, a club legend, has offered to help with the operation: “All Bellingham has to do is send me his schedule. Then I’ll fly to Dortmund, take him out to dinner and bring him back to England. Liverpool is missing a number eight like him, who moves the game, enters the area and scores goals for you. Bellingham has all the requirements to be that reinforcement. He should be an obvious target for Liverpool.”

It’s normal for Madrid to be taking note of the movements and being active themselves so as not to fall behind in the negotiations that, surely, will take place in Dortmund this summer, if not before. Dortmund, meanwhile, are still waiting for Bellingham to make a final decision - they had planned a meeting at the beginning of January but that didn’t happen, at the player’s insistence. Dortmund believe that he will not renew (he is under contract until 2025) and assume that they will have to sell him this summer to reap all of the economic benefits from the transfer. In Germany, they already know that Liverpool will be waiting to make an offer - and Madrid will too...