Jurgen Klopp has marked Borussia Dortmund ace Jude Bellingham as his top target for next summer as he eyes a statement signing to strengthen Liverpool, per the Daily Star.
The Reds only made one first-team addition over the summer in £36m defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig in May. That’s despite Georginio Wijnaldum leaving Anfield at the end of his contract, while selling Xherdan Shaqiri and plenty of back-ups.
Klopp is already now looking to next summer, as he plans a statement signing to rejuvenate the Liverpool engine room. The German believes Bellingham is the ideal fit for his team next season, but faces competition from rivals Manchester United.
Liverpool chiefs also know Borussia Dortmund will likely set their former manager an £80m valuation for Klopp to sign Bellingham. That would be a club-record for the Reds, eclipsing the £75m splashed on Virgil van Dijk in January 2018.
Bellingham is happy at the Westfalenstadion, a year on from leaving his boyhood side Birmingham in a £20m deal. The 18-year-old will also not agitate for a move away from North Rhine-Westphalia, even though he sees his long-term future in the Premier League.
Additionally, Bellingham would find it hard to say no to Liverpool if Klopp was to pursue the Borussia Dortmund sensation. He rejected a move to Manchester United to join BVB last summer, despite the Red Devils rolling out the red carpet to tempt him to Old Trafford.
Manchester United chiefs have remained keen on the £52k-a-week technician but will not pull out all the stops next summer. Instead, they will focus their efforts on bringing Erling Haaland to England, with Liverpool now ahead in the race for Bellingham’s signature.
Should Liverpool sign Borussia Dortmund star Bellingham?
Bellingham would be a landmark signing for Klopp if Liverpool agree to pay Borussia Dortmund a new club-record £80m fee. But the England international would likely be worth every penny, having exploded in Germany as one of Europe’s best teenagers.
In his debut Bundesliga season last term, Bellingham scored one goal and four assists in 29 games. He also struck home twice as BVB won the DFB Pokal and scored and assisted in the Champions League. While also having a goal wrongly ruled out against Manchester City.
He already has a goal and three assists in four appearances across all competitions this term, as well. While his efforts last season helped clinch a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020. With the Three Lions boss singing Bellingham’s praises after the Borussia Dortmund star and Liverpool target left an instant impression in training.
“Jude is phenomenal,” Southgate said, via Birmingham Live. “Just in training in the last couple of days, to have a 17-year-old, who wants to compete with senior players, not only has the technique, but the competitiveness and maturity, he’s a hugely exciting player.
“His performance levels with Dortmund in the big Champions League games were the things that really struck us. He stood up in those big moments. They are the moments we’re really assessing the players on.”