Liverpool have received a boost in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham as Jurgen Klopp’s charges reportedly now lead the race for his signature.
According to the Daily Star, the Reds have moved ahead of fierce rivals Manchester United in the queue to secure Bellingham’s services, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges set to prioritise the capture of Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips.
The report states that it would take a club-record fee of £80 million for Liverpool to prize the highly-rated 18-year-old away from the Signal Iduna Park, with him having only joined Dortmund just over a year ago for £25m.
Liverpool were believed to be in the market for a new central midfielder over the summer after the departure of Gini Wijnladum, with the likes of Saul Niguez and Renato Sanches heavily linked with a move to Anfield.
However, no new arrivals joined the 19-time English champions following the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate, leaving the German tactician somewhat light on numbers in the centre of the pitch.
The decision not to immediately replace Wijnaldum now appears to be even more controversial after teenager Harvey Elliott picked up a dislocated ankle in the opening weeks of the season, leading to speculation over a possible swoop for Bellingham.
And it’s easy to understand why the Liverpool hierarchy have identified the former Birmingham City maestro as their priority transfer target.
His impressive performances at club level have earned him eight international caps, and England boss Gareth Southgate lauded the youngster following his call-up to the senior squad last year.
“Jude is phenomenal. Just in training in the last couple of days, to have a 17-year-old, who wants to compete with senior players, not only has the technique but the competitiveness and maturity… he’s a hugely exciting player,” gushed Southgate.
Therefore, Klopp would surely love the opportunity to work with such a talented player this early on in his career, providing Liverpool with the foundation for a successful side for many years to come.