Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has delivered his verdict on the protracted Liverpool pursuit of Borrusa Dortmund wonderkid Jude Bellingham.
The lowdown: Waiting game
The Reds are expected to hold off adding a midfielder to the AXA ranks this summer in order to leave space for Bellingham in 2023.
After a recent report from the Mirror claimed Jurgen Klopp has already informed Julian Ward of the parameters required when seeking a midfield signing, and one intrigued pundit has had his say on the decision to wait for Bellingham.
The latest: ‘Worth waiting for’
He outlined: ‘That’s where Jude Bellingham comes in. It’s known that Borussia Dortmund don’t let two stars go in one season, that’s not how they operate.
“I think they’ve got enough in midfield to see one more season out and then get the player they want. I don’t see any point of getting a third-choice, fourth-choice stand-by when you know you are building a squad with the likes of [Luis] Diaz and [Darwin] Nunez that have come into the first-team.
“Now you need that next big player for five, six years to take the place of a Fabinho, a [James] Milner or a [Jordan] Henderson. You’ve got to bring in your number one target. For me, that’s worth waiting for in Jude Bellingham.”
The verdict: Stop gap required
Undoubtedly a generational talent, leaving funds set aside and getting a deal in place to complete the acquisition of the £100million rated Bellingham to Anfield next year is a wholly sensitive move from the club’s hierarchy.
However, failing to bolster the department this summer places much of the workload on Fabinho, Naby Keita, Thiago and Jordan Henderson once again, whilst young and relatively unproven trio Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones will also be required to take up some of the burdens amidst a congested season punctuated by a mid-season World Cup.
boosting 28 direct goal involvements in 89 outings for the Bundesliga giants, Bellingham – hailed as ‘terrific’ by Bundesliga journalist Kevin Hatchard – is already an elite-level talent and the 15-cap England sensation should remain a top priority in the long term.
However, adding a versatile midfield option to Klopp’s ranks this summer would be a smart move, even were it to be the suggested move to bring Gini Wijnaldum – a player who knows the Liverpool system inside out – back to Merseyside on a short-term loan deal.