Jude Bellingham should ignore Real Madrid, Man City and PSG - and stay at Borussia Dortmund for another year

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Jude Bellingham Borussia Dortmund 2022-23 HIC 16:9
All of Europe's richest clubs want to sign the England midfielder, but his development would be better served by another season at Signal Iduna Park

So, now we know. Liverpool are out of the running to sign Jude Bellingham this summer, which is a shame both for the club and the player. Because a move to Merseyside made so much sense.

Liverpool are in dire need of a new Steven Gerrard, while Anfield would have provided Bellingham with the perfect platform to prove himself as a truly generational talent.

He wouldn't have just been a guaranteed starter, he would have been the foundation on which Jurgen Klopp constructed his next great Liverpool team.

Unfortunately, this season's dramatic dip in form, which will likely result in the Reds missing out on Champions League football and financing next season, has put paid to any hope the German coach had of landing Bellingham.

After all, Dortmund are, quite understandably, seeking around €150 million (£132m/$165m) for their most prized possession and Liverpool are no state-sponsored club. They simply do not have the resources to sign the most-coveted teenager in world football and overhaul their squad.

Bellingham, of course, still has plenty of potential destinations to choose from, but are any of them really as attractive as Anfield?

  1. Manchester City

    Manchester City

    Manchester City are obviously one of the leading contenders to sign Bellingham and the prospect of working with Pep Guardiola would appeal to the England youngster.

    Crucially, unlike Liverpool, money is no object to the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners. Meeting both Dortmund's asking price and Bellingham's wage demands would not be an issue.

    But City's wealth is not without its downside, certainly from a player's perspective. The reigning Premier League champions can afford to make mistakes in the transfer market. If an expensive signing doesn't work out, they can just make another one.

    They are in the rather enviable position of being able to pay £42m ($53m) for a promising young English midfielder and leave him on the bench for almost the entire season. Now, people may argue with some justification that Bellingham is a far better player than Kalvin Phillips - and a very different one too - but the former Leeds United star's struggles at the Etihad this season underline just how difficult it is to break into this City side.

    Pep will obviously have a plan for Bellingham, but he doesn't exactly look like a perfect fit from a tactical perspective. City don't have another player like the 19-year-old, which is good in one way, but potentially problematic in another.

    Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva could both leave this summer, but Bellingham hardly represents a like-for-like replacement for either player.

    He is far more direct and actually more akin to Kevin De Bruyne but, again, it's difficult to see Bellingham playing instead of the Belgian or even with him, unless he makes some modifications to his game. Just look at how the ridiculously talented Phil Foden is in and out of the City starting line-up this season.

    Bellingham would obviously learn a lot playing under Guardiola, and alongside some of the most intelligent footballers in the game today, but, at his age, he needs to play, and he needs to grow. It's not as if Phillips is doing either right now...

  2. Real Madrid
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    Real Madrid

    As it stands, Madrid don't appear to have quite enough money in the bank to bring Bellingham to Santiago Bernabeu this summer, not that a lack of cash has ever stopped them before. Real usually find a way to get what they want.

    A player's desire to move to Madrid often helps too. It remains the dream destination for most footballers, representing the most successful side in the history of the European Cup is still considered by many to be the pinnacle of their profession. Bellingham would be no different in that regard.

    Again, though, there are some red flags. Madrid have signed two young midfielders of enormous potential during the last summer two transfer windows, in Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga.

    The former was once again on the bench against Chelsea on Wednesday night, while the latter played at left-back.

    Both were obviously bought with the future in mind. Despite some compelling evidence to the contrary, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos cannot continue forever.

    But, again, Bellingham might have to spend more time on the bench than he'd like if he were to join Madrid at this particular moment in time.

    After all, another midfielder really isn't really Real's priority right now, which is telling in itself.

  3. Manchester United

    Manchester United

    In recently urging Bellingham to stay at Dortmund, club legend Stefan Effenberg pointed out in his column for Sport1 that there are "no guarantees elsewhere - [Jadon] Sancho is the best example of this."

    It was a valid point. Sancho appeared perfectly primed to become a superstar at Manchester United in 2021 after three stellar seasons at Signal Iduna Park.

    Sadly, the winger has endured a tough time at Old Trafford, with the mental strain of playing in one of the most pressurised environments in world football having taken a heavy toll on Sancho, who is only now starting to look like something resembling his old self.

    Sancho certainly wasn't helped by the constant turmoil at United, and while things have improved around the first team following the appointment of the excellent Erik ten Hag as coach, the ongoing unrest at boardroom level is hugely concerning.

    Indeed, it was hoped that the Glazer family, who are reviled by many supporters, would sell the club before the end of the season, but that process could now drag on into the summer, meaning less time for the new owners to prepare for next season.

    For that reason alone, United appear unlikely to sign Bellingham. They're not presently in a position to commit to such a massive deal, while Bellingham would be well advised to steer clear while the ownership issue at Old Trafford remains unresolved.

  4. Chelsea
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    If United's interest should be treated with caution, any offer from Chelsea must be immediately dismissed. The new owners at Stamford Bridge are making the previous administration look like models of restraint, having already sacked two managers since taking charge last summer and spent more than £500m ($625m) on players.

    Seriously, it's The Muppet Show, an ever-expanding cast of comical characters that appear to exist only for our amusement.

    It obviously makes no sense for Chelsea to bid for Bellingham, given they're already in danger of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations because of their historic spending spree, but that doesn't mean they won't.

    Todd Boehly & Co. clearly want to sign as many talented young players as possible. However, it would be hugely surprising if Bellingham had any interest in joining a club operating in a total state of flux.

    They won't be playing in the Champions League next season, while it's not yet known who their next manager will be - or whether he'll be sacked six games into the new campaign.

    Bellingham must avoid Chelsea at all costs.

  5. Paris Saint-Germain
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    Paris Saint-Germain

    From one burning dumpster to another...

    Paris Saint-Germain are in total disarray right now. Obviously, they're still top of Ligue 1, but after yet another embarrassing last-16 exit from the Champions League, all hell has broken loose at the Parc des Princes.

    Kylian Mbappe insists he's staying but while Lionel Messi has been offered a contract extension, he is being whistled by his own fans, throwing his future at the club into considerable doubt.

    And then there's Christophe Galtier. Things were going badly enough as it was for the under-pressure coach but he's now found himself at the centre of a racism row dating back to his time at Nice.

    It's genuinely impossible to predict what will happen next at PSG. The entire QSI project is in tatters, in dire need of a complete change in direction.

    From a purely sporting perspective, Bellingham would obviously be an ideal acquisition for a side so obviously lacking in world-class quality behind its star-studded front three.

    But PSG have their own FFP concerns. Unless they somehow manage to sell Neymar, which has proven impossible thus far, or let Messi leave, it's hard to see them committing €150m to signing one player this summer.

    As for Bellingham, he needs stability at this stage of his career, not constant chaos.

  6. Borussia Dortmund
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    Borussia Dortmund

    The smart move, then, would be to spend another season at Dortmund. As Effenberg also pointed out, Bellingham has time on his side.

    "He is still young," the former Ballon d'Or winner wrote. "He can still sign three or four top contracts in the future."

    Right now, the only thing that should matter is regular football at the highest level, and Dortmund can offer him that, with BVB not only well on course to qualify for next season's Champions League but also re-emerging as a genuine threat to Bayern's Bundesliga dominance.

    Man City and Madrid are not going anywhere. They will still be interested in signing him next summer, if not more so, given he'd only have one year left on his contract at that stage.

    The uncertainty at United, and maybe even Chelsea and PSG, should also have dissipated by then, while even Liverpool may have put themselves back in a position to rejoin the race after a potentially successful rebuild at Anfield.

    There really will be more options and more clarity this time next year. The temptation to transfer this summer will, of course, be enormous, but Bellingham really would be better off biding his time.