Liverpool have reportedly called Borussia Dortmund with the view to signing Jude Bellingham this summer, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Pre-season is well underway and hype is building ahead of the start of the 2022/23 season with Jurgen Klopp’s side set to challenge for the Premier League, the Champions League and everything else again.
The German saw his side have a close brush with immortality las when they came within two wins of winning the quadruple for the first time in English football history.
A strong component in the discussion surrounding the buildup to the new season is the Reds’ lack of a midfield signing despite how injuries played a part in Liverpool missing out on winning the Premier League.
It was thanks to an incredible comeback that Liverpool had any chance of winning the title. They came back from 14 points to within 1 to narrowly miss out on winning the trophy but they should never have been in that position.
While it’s undeniable that Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are exciting players and show signs of playing a key part in the future of Klopp’s team, losing Georginio Wijnaldum to PSG on a free transfer was a major blow and Klopp’s side suffered without him.
🛑 Only Franck Kessie and Gini Wijnaldum were dribbled past fewer times per game (both 0.3) than Lille's Amadou Onana (0.4) of midfielders in Europe's top 5 leagues last season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 18, 2022
The Dutchman may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he was a large force in the Champions League winning season in 2019 and was world-class in the 2019/20 season when Liverpool won the league title for the first time in 30 years.
Their first Premier League title and their 19th title win overall, taking them to within one of Manchester United, who are showing faint signs of improvement but seem two or three seasons away from potentially winning it again.
Wijnaldum’s press resistance, intelligence and calm demeanour were vital at the heart of Klopp’s midfield engine. He helped retain possession when in winning positions and ensured Liverpool could always play out of trouble.
However, in his absence, the Reds’ midfield can be overly functional at times when James Milner and Jordan Henderson have been deployed alongside Fabinho. This setup means that passing from the back can be slow and lacking in tempo.
Thiago has become a vital starter in every must-win game which is a risk as it means there will inevitably be periods in which the Spaniard is overplayed.
Thiago Alcantara • One of the best (21/22)pic.twitter.com/eJ65QT3kQN
— Jamie🇲🇹 (@RobertsonSZN26) July 19, 2022
What has been most missed in Wijnaldum’s absence, however, is his fitness and the sheer number of games he was able to play at a very high level every season.
In his time at Liverpool, he never played less than 33 Premier League games a season.
Availability in midfield is Klopp’s greatest obstacle to winning it all next season in my opinion.
Too many of his options are injury prone with Thiago and Keita most liable to get injured but Henderson, Fabinho and Milner have all had various issues themselves while Harvey Elliott is likely back to his best now after his ankle ligament damage last season.
Curtis Jones missed a fair bit of the start of last season but he was more unlucky than anything, even suffering from an eye injury at one stage.
Liverpool have been seriously interested in signing a new midfielder this summer
The start of the summer followed Liverpool losing in the Champions League final to Real Madrid and they rubbed salt into our wounds by bullying their way to the signing of Aurelien Tchouameni.
— Madrid Xtra (@MadridXtra) July 18, 2022
The Frenchman would have been an incredible addition to the Liverpool midfield but it wasn’t to be. Various other central midfielders have also been linked but links to Jude Bellingham stand out above the rest.
There is definitely serious interest there but, of course, Dortmund hold all the cards.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Reds called them this month to discuss the potential for a deal this summer.
He said: “Dortmund want to keep Jude Bellingham, they considered him as part of the project and they know that in summer 2023, many top clubs will jump in. It will be a crazy race, really crazy.
“It’s true that Liverpool, few weeks ago, called the people close to Jude Bellingham and Borussia Dortmund to inquire about the situation, to understand if they had the chance to jump in to make a proposal.
“The answer was no, no way, the player is untouchable this summer.”
The midfielder is valued at over £80M by BVB and a Liverpool bid would need to be mammoth in size. It’s incredibly unlikely the Reds sign him but if they wanted to, every club has a price they are prepared to sell at.
It’s my belief that there is a deal there to be agreed but it would require unbelievable investment from FSG which just isn’t likely due to their normal transfer practices and the outlay already sanctioned for Darwin Nunez.