The powers at Liverpool would have no doubt watched Jude Bellingham closely during his outing for England in the UEFA Nations League against Italy and, despite another disappointing defeat, the midfielder was a standout performer.
The Three Lions have now been relegated from Group A, something that will be massively disappointing for Gareth Southgate, but he can take solace in some of the young talent he has in his team to select from for the World Cup in a few months’ time.
Bellingham proved over his 90-minute display in the 1-0 defeat exactly why he is one of the most sought-after midfielders in the world, enjoying 75 touches of the ball, boasting a 93% pass completion rate, making two key passes and winning six out of his 11 duels – dominating the centre of the pitch.
There is no doubt that the 19-year-old will be certain of a spot on the plane to Qatar at the end of this year, but what isn’t certain is his future at Borussia Dortmund, with many clubs coming forward in a bid to sign him next summer.
Liverpool are considered the front-runners in the race for Bellingham’s signature, while Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid are also named as clubs vying for the talented youngster. However, Dortmund also remain keen to hold onto their starlet, which has resulted in the Englishman’s €150m (£131.6m) price tag.
The £27k-per-week star who was hailed “unreal” by BBC Sport presenter Abbie McCarthy has been a target for Liverpool since he was in the U11s at Birmingham City, although the club were unable to secure his future back then and will now pay the price to do so, something FSG must sanction without hesitation.
Liverpool are currently enduring their worst Premier League start under Jurgen Klopp, with an injury crisis in midfield contributing to the imbalance and poor performances of the team. Furthermore, now that James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are well into their 30s, it’s time for the Reds to reinvest.
As such, despite his hefty price tag, the signing of Bellingham would be monumental for Liverpool and could set up the heart of their team for over a decade, so FSG have no excuse but to head into the race for the 19-year-old with guns blazing next summer.