Pep Guardiola tipped to bully Liverpool out of transfer race with strong-arm approach for £85m-rated star

Jurgen Klopp v Pep Guardiola Liverpool v Man City in the Premier League Credit: Alamy
Jurgen Klopp v Pep Guardiola Liverpool v Man City in the Premier League Credit: Alamy

Manchester City will flex their financial muscles and win the race for one of the world’s most in-demand stars this summer in Jude Bellingham, one observer has explained.

The Borussia Dortmund teenager has taken his game onto new heights this season in a more advanced midfield role. Indeed, in his 18 appearances this term, Bellingham has nine goals and two assists to his name. To befit his growing importance for BVB, he’s also donned the captain’s armband on occasions.

Understandably, Bellingham finds himself in huge demand with a plethora of top clubs chasing his signature. Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and City make up five clubs all dreaming of prising him from Dortmund next summer.

Certainly the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Real make strong cases for his signing. All three clubs will soon have vacancies in their midfield with a number of established stars likely to move on or retire.

However, it will not be a straight fight with reports on Thursday revealing Bellingham has usurped Frenkie de Jong as Erik ten Hag’s top target at Manchester United.

Dortmund, though, will not be pushed over easily. Bellingham will command a minimum £85m asking price, with recent reports suggesting an auction for his services could see the fee hit as high as £130 (€150m).

Were that to happen, it would seriously reduce Liverpool’s prospects of getting their hands on him.

Jude Bellingham to Man City seems most likely

Now Gabriel Agbonlahor reckons that valuation could play into Manchester City’s hands. And he is tipping Pep Guardiola and Co to push their rivals for Bellingham aside with a serious flexing of their financial mite.

Asked by talkSPORT (03/11, 9.20) which side he can see Bellingham signing for, the pundit had a measured response.

“Manchester United – Casemiro, Fernandes and Eriksen look good. Bellingham would help but I think Liverpool need him the most, but Manchester City wouldn’t surprise me if they said ‘get out of the way guys!’.”

Safe to say City are one of the few clubs in the world game where money is no object. That said, they are always operated a pragmatic approach – considering their vast wealth – in the transfer market. Indeed, Guardiola’s focus has very much been on coaching his players to be the best they can possibly be.

City, though, have arguably been the least prominent of all the big clubs when it comes to discussions on Bellingham’s next destination.

However, Guardiola has made clear his admiration for the player after their Champions League meeting earlier this season.

“I was impressed when he was 17. Imagine (what I think about him) now that he’s 19!

“Bellingham) grew up so (much). Defensively, he’s able to follow (Ilkay) Gundogan or Kevin (De Bruyne) in the pockets and win the duels.

“So he’s an exceptional player. I think everyone knows it. Not because the manager of Manchester City is going to tell you. Everybody knows it.”

Haaland wants link-up with his good pal Bellingham

He’s not the only one seemingly keen on seeing him turn out for City either.

His former Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland has also reportedly ‘intervened’ over the teenager’s next move.

CBS reporter Ben Jacobs is convinced that Haaland’s influence could be key in steering Bellingham towards Man City.

“You’ve got Manchester City, who haven’t yet moved but are very keen on the player and Erling Haaland has directly told Jude Bellingham that it would be a good move for him,” Jacobs told GiveMeSport.

“How much weight we put behind that remains to be seen. There will be other players, for example in the England camp, that have no doubt spoken to Bellingham about their respective clubs as well.

“One player telling another player to come and join isn’t always a big deal. But the fact that they were teammates and they get on could be a decisive factor as well.”

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