Manchester City chiefs reportedly believe they hold a key advantage over Liverpool and Real Madrid in the race to sign Jude Bellingham.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is a long-term transfer target for Liverpool and has also recently been linked with Real Madrid. Manchester City are said to be another team pushing hard to get his signature.
As per the Sun (h/t the Mirror), City’s chiefs believe manager Pep Guardiola’s presence will encourage Bellingham to move to the Etihad. The Spanish tactician is regarded as one of the best managers in modern football.
Guardiola has won league titles with Barcelona, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich as their head coach. Guardiola is also amongst a rare list of managers to have won the UEFA Champions League twice, doing so with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.
Bellingham, meanwhile, is one of the, if not the hottest prospects in world football. He has been sensational for Borussia Dortmund since his move from Birmingham City in the summer of 2020.
The teenager has already amassed 112 senior appearances with the Black and Yellow and is a regular starter for England. He started in all five of the Three Lions’ 2022 FIFA World Cup games in Qatar, scoring and assisting one goal each.
The Englishman barely has any chinks in his armor, which is impressive considering he is yet to reach his prime as a player. If he moves to the Etihad, Bellingham could be a readymade replacement for goal-scoring midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
The 32-year-old German midfielder is in the final year of his contract with the Cityzens.
Jordan Henderson has already praised Real Madrid and Liverpool target during World Cup
One of the most notable off-the-pitch stories from England’s World Cup campaign in Qatar was Bellingham’s evidently budding friendship with Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Many Reds fans saw this as a sign that the former Birmingham City midfielder could be headed to Anfield. While there is no clarity on where Bellingham may be headed next amid interest from Real Madrid, he has already drawn high praise from the Liverpool skipper.
Speaking in the post-match interview after England’s quarter-final win over Senegal on 4 December, Henderson said (h/t talkSPORT):
“I’ve said it many a time. He’s a one-off. We need to let him enjoy playing football, he’s only 19. He’s been incredible at this tournament but [also] for a long period of time now with Dortmund.”
“He’s carried it on into this tournament and hopefully he can just carry on going from strength to strength and being a big player for England.”
The Three Lions would go on to 2-1 to France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.