Liverpool have dodged a bullet by snubbing Bellingham and signing ‘secret’ Szoboszlai

Editor F365
Dominik Szoboszlai and Jude Bellingham
Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai and dodged bullet Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham doesn’t even have a ‘secret weapon’ so it’s little wonder that Liverpool took the ‘decision’ not to pursue an unavailable player…


Listen…do you want to know a secret?
Liverpool have signed Dominik Szoboszlai which means that online publishers need Dominik Szoboszlai content. Which means that Dominik Szoboszlai barrels can be scraped.

Right on cue, here’s the Mirror with a new definition of the word ‘secret’…

Dominik Szoboszlai’s secret Liverpool weapon revealed after proving Neymar wrong

Because no f***er has spotted the Hungary captain taking penalties throughout his entire career.

Nobody spotted him taking and scoring one against England in the Nations League just last year. And not even Gianluigi Donnarumma saw the penalty that went past him to earn RB Leipzig a famous Champions League draw against PSG.

Liverpool may indeed ‘have found themselves a new penalty expert in the form of Dominik Szoboszlai following his Merseyside arrival’ but headlining this quite public skill as a ‘secret weapon’ is really bloody low.

But not as low as this…

Dominik Szoboszlai shares what Erling Haaland said about Liverpool after completing move

It’s rare that you see such blatantly misleading clickbait, conjuring up as it does visions of Haaland either recommending a move to Liverpool (this does mean more, after all) or calling them all a right bunch of c***s.

Instead, what we find is that Haaland has been advising his former Red Bull Salzburg teammate on the advantages of living in a certain area.

“We’ve talked, so much so that Erling Haaland has also advised on finding real estate, and it could very well be that we become neighbours. I learned from him that several players live halfway between Manchester and Liverpool in a quiet area where privacy can be preserved, and on Monday I will see what he was talking about, I am very curious.”

So that will be Dominik Szoboszlai sharing what Erling Haaland said about Cheshire after completing move.


This means more credit
Remember when Liverpool showed real transfer genius for ‘noting’ that Alexis Mac Allister had won the World Cup and was available for a low price because of a release clause?

Well, now they are very much back again after paying £60m for Szoboszlai. The Liverpool Echo are here to spin the sh*t out of this:

Liverpool have just exploited transfer loophole to sign two top midfield targets

‘Transfer loophole’ is one hell of a way to describe the process of enquiring about a player’s release clause and then paying said release clause.

The release clause was key. There was a clock ticking against the Reds with Szoboszlai’s clause expiring at the end of June, after which time his former club RB Leipzig would have had the ability to reject any interest or hold Liverpool’s feet to the fire for a price that the German side may have felt better reflected his standing in European football. Either way, a swift deal would not have been done and the leverage would have been with Leipzig.

And yet no other club – including Newcastle – were willing to meet that release clause. Have Liverpool ‘exploited a transfer loophole’ or simply paid too much for a player about to go on the open market?

Elsewhere in the same outlet, the narrative begins that Liverpool were wise to sidestep a deal for Jude Bellingham (that was never really a possibility but let’s gloss over that).

Liverpool private theory over Jude Bellingham may be right after £95m response

F*** knows what  a ‘private theory’ is. Are we to believe that Liverpool knew all along that Bellingham was the wrong transfer even though they courted him for two years before he very publicly and predictably chose Real Madrid? Yes, we are to believe exactly that.

The decision to step away from a pursuit of Jude Bellingham might eventually come to be known as the sliding doors moment for the final years of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool reign.

A ‘decision’ that is slightly weakened by the admission just four paragraphs later that there was ‘no real indication given by Bellingham’s camp that he would opt for Liverpool anyway’. Oh.

It was a decision that became an increasingly easy one to make for the club the further last season went on. Prior to the World Cup, Liverpool believed there was a deal to be done with Borussia Dortmund at around £80m before the England international’s valuation skyrocketed thanks to his performances for the Three Lions at the Qatar showpiece in November and December.

Yes, that price ‘skyrocketed’ from £80m to £88m. Whoosh.

After a particularly difficult six weeks at the start of 2023 saw the Reds comfortably beaten by the likes of Brentford, Brighton and Wolves, the thought process began to shift gradually inside the AXA Training Centre.

We imagine the thought process shifted a little more violently for Bellingham himself.

Having fluttered their eyelashes in the direction of the midfielder for the best part of two years, the call to walk away some months before the summer transfer window opened, having accepted he was beyond their means, was initially viewed, by some, as further evidence of an empire in decline under Klopp, from the outside at least.

‘Accepted he was beyond their means’ is a hell of a spin on the hottest property in world football choosing Real Madrid over the fifth best team in England.

On the inside, however, it was decreed that the summer’s rebuild would be about more than just one player and the wisdom of allocating what would have been the lion’s share of the budget to a single arrival was ultimately folly, regardless of how talented Bellingham is.

Was this ‘decreed’ during that spell when Bellingham showed literally no interest in coming to Liverpool? How wise to sidestep that ‘folly’. Bullet dodged.

If only there were an example of a similar dodged bullet…

Those on the inside at the time likened the situation to the club’s decision to bring in Sami Hyypia and Stephane Henchoz in 1999 for a combined sum of around £6m rather than fork out a club-record fee for Rio Ferdinand, then at West Ham United.

In an effort to tighten up a porous defence, Gerard Houllier plumped for the little-known Hyypia from Dutch side Willem II for £2.6m alongside Switzerland international Henchoz from Blackburn Rovers at £3.5m. A little over a year later, Ferdinand moved to Leeds United for a world record fee for a centre-back of £18m.

Hyypia and Henchoz formed the bedrock of Liverpool’s defence for the coming years and were instrumental in the 2000/2001 season when the Reds won a treble of the UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup while also securing a place in the Champions League for the first time since it was rebranded in the early 1990s. The former played over 450 games for the Reds and is a club legend.

And Rio Ferdinand went on to win six Premier League titles with Manchester United. Thank f*** they avoided that particular folly.

While Bellingham joined Real Madrid for a fee that would rise to £115m – making him the most expensive Englishman of all time – Liverpool have instead opted to lay out £95m on Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai so far. It’s an exciting double swoop that promises much for a new-look midfield next term.

That Bellingham fee could rise to £115m but the initial fee is £88m, a fact oddly missing from this otherwise-thorough piece. So Liverpool have still spent more on Mac Allister and Szoboszlai.

Without the bounty of the Champions League income in the same summer that a major rebuild was needed inside the squad, the idea of a blockbuster, club-record package for a player also coveted by the 14-time champions of Europe in Real Madrid was, with the benefit of hindsight, a difficult strategy to execute properly.

Instead, Liverpool have kicked off their window by committing to their biggest outlay since 2018 already with the transfer window just a few weeks old. Hindsight will ultimately determine if it was the right decision, but the mood has been transformed and few are arguing against it right now.

Few outside of Liverpool are calling it a ‘decision’.