One of the most annoying things about transfer sagas — besides the persistence with which they permeate a fan’s existence — is that they encourage entirely too many people to chime in and make predictions or claim knowledge in an attempt to gain the vaunted ‘insider’ status that adds so much social and professional capital and drives so many extra clicks on social media.
It’s a rare treat, then, when actual reliable club-connected journalists chime in, because it allows everyone to get their bearings on where things are actually headed based on something other than the latest fancies of any old sod with an internet connection.
Sadly, though, this does not always lead to the wanted outcome.
According to both Chris Bascombe and Paul Joyce, the two most reliable Liverpool journalists left, Liverpool have dropped out of the chase for Jude Bellingham, owing to a combination of the fee getting into the silly range — rumours of a €140m price tag abound— the team requiring too many holes to be filled, and next year’s Champions League being out of reach. The player is now likely to pick between Real Madrid and Manchester City.
It’s a hammer blow for the Reds, but it may also be the right call. If Jürgen Klopp — quite correctly — adjudges his squad to need multiple high-quality additions and Bellingham, due to his exorbitant cost, would get in the way of that, then moving on is probably the correct course of action. Bellingham is a supremely talented footballer, and one that is likely to anchor the midfield of whichever team he chooses for the next decade, but he can only fill one spot in the XI, and the current Reds team requires more than that.
There is, of course, a chance this is Liverpool posturing publicly, using their media connections to do so — it wouldn’t be the first time price is negotiated through the papers, and the two stories were published only minutes apart, clearly coordinated — but it appears far more likely that this is how things really are, and that Liverpool fans should begin looking up highlight videos of other midfielders to whet their appetite for the summer.