Sources: Liverpool's new chief midfield target revealed as they pull plug on Jude Bellingham deal
Liverpool have pulled out of the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham this summer, sources have told Football Insider.
The Reds’ need for a comprehensive rebuild this summer has been brought into sharp focus by a season that is certain to end in a failure to qualify for the Champions League.
And, given that the fee to bring in Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund would cost up to £130million, plus agent fees and wages on top, Jurgen Klopp has been forced to abandon plans to sign him.
That leaves the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United to battle it out for the 19-year-old’s signature.
City are the new favourites to land the player following Liverpool’s withdrawal.
Liverpool are now considering alternative targets in the centre of the park, with Chelsea and England midfielder Mason Mount chief among them.
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No matter who arrives at Anfield, however, news of Liverpool conceding defeat in their pursuit of Bellingham is likely to go down poorly with supporters.
The perception has long existed that the teenager’s name has been used to quieten discontent over a lack of investment in recent seasons.
And the Reds’ failure to get his signing over the line will only add to the sense that this campaign has been lost to a needlessly delayed midfield surgery.
Klopp has made no secret of his admiration for Bellingham and lavished him with praise as recently as December.
“I don’t like to talk about money when you talk about a player like him. Everyone can see he is just exceptional,” he said.
“If you mention to someone who has no clue about football, or who knows about football and has not watched it for a while (and ask) ‘How old do you think Jude Bellingham is?’, I don’t think anyone would get even close to his age.
“They would say 28 or 29 because he plays so maturely. He played an exceptional World Cup. Absolutely exceptional.
“With all the things he has and things he can improve, to describe him I would say the things he can do are difficult to learn, and the things he can improve are easy to learn.
“So, yes, he is a really good player. What can I say? I have thought that already for two or three years since he had his breakthrough at Dortmund.
“Everybody knew already but I have no idea what that means for the money side of it.
“I really think if we all want to do him a favour then we do not talk too much about money. I mean that from an England point of view. Do not throw any hurdles in his development.”
In other news, ‘angry scenes’ in Liverpool dressing room amid big development today.