Just like individuals and businesses looking for the next shiny object that will provide the opportunity to move a step ahead, top clubs in football are always on the lookout for the next breakout talent to add to their ranks. Jude Bellingham is now regarded as one of the best talents of his generation.
Unsurprisingly, top clubs are beginning to plot moves for his signature. Manchester City have been linked with the 19-year-old, as have rivals Liverpool and Manchester United. Some reports have also indicated interest from the Spanish giants. But recent reports in the media say it’s a fight between the English clubs for the country’s next breakout star.
Pep Guardiola has often joked about how he won the Champions League with Barcelona because of Lionel Messi. While several other factors contributed to the Catalan club’s success at the time, Messi was a key factor. So in a way, the City boss is telling the truth, especially considering the Argentine’s status in the game at his prime. Many regarded the midfield maestro as the best player ever to grace the football pitch.
Twice Sir Alex Ferguson came up against him in the Champions League final. On both occasions, the legendary manager was left both bewildered and defeated. He had no answer to Guardiola’s well-drilled team led by the Argentine wizard.
So to stay one step ahead of the competition, having the best players on offer really helps. Sometimes having top talents in key areas on the pitch makes all the difference. That’s the reason clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have ruled the European football landscape for so many years.
For newcomers like Chelsea and Manchester City, following the blueprint for success is crucial. Hence, the clubs have invested heavily in the best players available in the market to compete. City have even broken the English transfer record in the process in addition to other significant outlays. And there’s no sign of stopping anytime soon.
After signing England midfielder Kalvin Phillips for £45m last summer to replace outgoing captain Fernandinho, the club is now linked to his compatriot Bellingham who functions in a similar position. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is turning heads with his performances at the moment as his maturity is well beyond his age.
An impressive goal for the German side in the Champions League against City only added fuel to the fire. In Phillips’ absence due to injury, Bellingham shone brightly for the Three Lions in the international break.
Initially, Liverpool were talked up as his ideal destination with Jurgen Klopp seen as an admirer. But attention has now shifted to United and City with claims that the Etihad Stadium will be his destination due to the steep transfer fee involved.
Dortmund are said to want £83m, paid in one instalment. That, of course, will not be a problem for City. With Ilkay Gundogan now 31 and likely to leave the club anytime soon, at just 19, Bellingham could be the perfect replacement.
If Guardiola is indeed keen on the young midfielder as has been reported, then this could be a good deal for Man City. The player is also said to be open to the idea of linking up with former teammate at Dortmund, Erling Haaland.
The only problem here is that these are all unverified rumours. Only time will tell if City and Guardiola are really interested in a deal for the player and if he also wants to join the club.
With so many potential suitors, anything can happen. Like Alexis Sanchez, Virgil van Dijk and Jorginho, who were all expected to join City, he could end up at Liverpool, Manchester United or Chelsea. But if City really want him, they are in a good position right now. All they have to do is meet Dortmund’s valuation and trigger his release clause.