Liverpool abandon pursuit of major midfield star as ‘rebuild’ takes precedence over £120million man

Ciaran McCarthy
Jude Bellingham, Borussia Dortmund, April 2023

Liverpool have reportedly abandoned their pursuit of Jude Bellingham, instead undergoing a ‘summer rebuild’ for which they are ‘drawing up a list of targets’.

Bellingham seemed to have been identified as the Reds’ major target a long time ago. Indeed, they’ve been linked with him for some time.

That he’s become one of the world’s best at the age of 19 gives good reason to their interest.

During the months of speculation, reports have suggested they’ve jostled with other sides, such as Real Madrid and Chelsea. Of late, it’s been suggested the midfielder has ‘distanced himself with Real Madrid’.

That same report stated Bellingham’s family want him to ‘return to’ England to ‘try his luck in the Premier League’. As such, Liverpool seemingly have a good shot at landing the star.

A subsequent report stated the Reds had sent a bid of £84million to Borussia Dortmund for him.

Journalist Paul Joyce has poured cold water on those reports. Indeed, he reports in The Times that Liverpool have cooled their interest in the Dortmund man.

That report states Liverpool are ‘drawing up a list of alternatives’ to Bellingham as the ‘scale of their summer rebuild precludes a move’ for him.

It continues to say that the ‘merits of spending far in excess of £100million on a single player have been widely debated’.

However, ‘rectifying this season’s drop-off and infusing the squad with first-team talent means that committing such a huge chunk of this summer’s funds to one player is no longer regarded by the club as the best strategy.’

It sounds as if the Reds will make a number of smaller signings in order to replace some players who are below standard or not yet at the right level.

It’s fair to say that might be the best course of action. While Bellingham is a top player, he can’t do everyone’s job on his own.

It seems there is real need for change, too. With Liverpool in eighth, now seems the right time to begin a rebuild to ensure this poor run does not continue.

What’s more, the ages of the some of the most utilised players should be taken into account. Centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are both 31 years of age, and midfielders Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are both 32.

Those players won’t be able to go on forever. Adding younger players to either play with them or replace them, either now or in the long run, is the best way to ensure the squad is not stale going forwards.

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