Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid: Where will he play, who will he replace and is he the right fit?
The flirtations have turned into courtship. Jude Bellingham is soon to be a Real Madrid player after expressing his intent to join the Spanish giants. The transfer fee still needs to be figured out, with Borussia Dortmund asking for an eye-watering €150 million (£132m/$166m). But this is Madrid, and such matters are generally ironed out. Money, in vast quantities, will change hands.
In truth, we were always likely to get here, especially after Liverpool pulled out of the race over a month ago. Madrid can offer one of the most promising young sides in world football, a world-class manager, and an intangible prestige that comes with playing in that famous white kit. Bellingham will be part of a side that will be expected to win La Liga every year, and serially contend for the Champions League. He will have the opportunity to learn from legends such as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
As an individual, he will raise his profile, and assert himself as one of the best in the world while playing for one of the biggest clubs around. On paper, and presumably, in reality, this should all work out wonderfully.
But there are some specifics to be figured out here. Madrid have at least five starting-calibre midfielders already, as well as a presumptive No.10 if the manager switches to a different system. There is also an irresistible balance to their midfield. Indeed, Madrid's second-placed La Liga finish cannot be blamed on their aptitude in the middle third of the pitch.
So, there's no obvious fit for the Englishman. He will, in all likelihood, have to push one of Kroos or Modric out of the side, and perhaps overtake the exciting Fede Valverde in the pecking order. These are simple decisions in the long term, but Madrid is a club that does not look beyond the present.
This will all work out, but how, exactly will, it everything fit together? GOAL takes a look at where Bellingham can, can't and might play for Los Blancos next season: