Bellingham costs Liverpool after recruitment team warned club against extensions for Van Dijk et al.

Will Ford
Liverpool target Jude Bellingham takes a drink

Liverpool’s recruitment team reportedly warned the club that the squad was moving away from the ‘right football age’ two years ago, but their obsession with signing “the right player” has cost them dear.

That’s according to Melissa Ruddy, whose report for Sky Sports delves into the club’s decision to chase Jude Bellingham at all costs.

A chase that is now over according to reports which claim Liverpool have backed out of the race to sign the England international.

Bellingham has been Liverpool’s top target for some time, with the club ignoring the obvious need to strengthen in midfield as they waited on “the right player”.

Other targets, like Aurelian Tchouameni and Ryan Gravenberch, have been missed in the meantime, but as Ruddy claims, ‘the big play was being saved for this summer’.

She continues: ‘Liverpool’s negotiating position has been severely weakened by selling clubs alive to how badly they need to strengthen.’

Thiago Alcantara has been the only permanent midfield addition since 2018 despite claims the recruitment team advised significant action in the summer of 2021.

The report states: ‘Liverpool’s recruitment team were flagging that the squad was veering away from the “right football age”.’

‘They felt blanket new contract extensions were not the best strategy for a spine that had multiple seasons of exacting football taking its toll on their bodies and minds.’

Just two years ago, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Alisson Becker were all handed new deals.

Henderson, Van Dijk and Alisson are now over the age of 30, while Robertson and Fabinho are 29.

Liverpool are now look to focus on other targets as they look to rebuild their midfield, but recruitment looks set to prove more difficult as they look likely to miss out on Champions League football next season.

The list of alternatives is long and varied. Sky Germany says it features the names of Declan Rice, Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella, Wolves’ Matheus Nunes and Moises Caicedo.

RB Salzburg’s Luka Sucic and Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners are also said to be on the Reds’ radar, according to Sky Sports, which Gravenberch is also named as a target in that report.

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