Real Madrid have reportedly been dealt a major blow in the race to sign Liverpool target Jude Bellingham with him said to “prefer the Premier League”.
Bellingham is likely to leave Borussia Dortmund next summer after growing his reputation while playing in the Bundesliga.
The England midfielder came through the ranks at Birmingham City and he opted to join the German side over Man Utd in 2020.
The 19-year-old has played over 100 times for Dortmund and he is now recognised as one of the best young players in Europe.
The midfielder operates as a player beyond his years as he has captained his side in the Champions League and Bundesliga this season.
Bellingham is now arguably the main man at Dortmund after Erling Haaland joined Man City in the summer. But they look set to lose him next year, albeit for a huge transfer fee.
The teenager is under contract until 2025 and Dortmund are ready to ask interested clubs for around £100m next summer.
Liverpool have been tracking him for some time and they are understood to be leading the race to sign him along with Real Madrid.
The English club’s attempt to get in the top-four this season could prove pivotal.
But journalist Rudy Galetti is reporting that the “main barrier” for Real Madrid to deal with is that the player “prefers” the Premier League over Serie A.
“The good relationship between Los Blancos and Dortmund could facilitate the negotiation. But Real Madrid must pay attention to Liverpool, who have long been on the trail of the English midfielder,” Galetti wrote for Tribal Football.
“Jude, at the moment, seems to prefer Premier League to La Liga. And this is the main barrier to be overcome.
“The midfielder’s contract expires in 2025 and finding an agreement with the agent on personal terms (currently his salary is around 1,6 million euros) does not seem to be an issue.
“But the will to come back home, to his own England, may be stronger than any tempting contract and cause some headaches for Florentino.”
Ex-Premier League manager Sam Allardyce has claimed that Liverpool and their rivals have already “missed a massive opportunity” with Bellingham.
“I think Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool missed a massive opportunity in snapping him [Bellingham] up,” Allardyce said on William Hill’s No Tippy Tappy Football podcast.
“Birmingham, at this stage, are always going to be struggling for money and looking to capitalise on such a great player that they had. For him to have ended up in Germany I think is a shame.”
Allardyce’s former assistant Sammy Lee added: “He’s high on Liverpool’s list for next season.
“They identified him as being the one, and they should have got him. I don’t understand why people wait a year – a lot can happen in a year.”
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