Liverpool are reportedly the clear front-runners in the hot pursuit of England and Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham.
The 19-year-old has established himself as one of Europe’s best midfielders and will not be short of suitors at the end of the season.
The race for his signature is expected to intensify at the end of the current season, with Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea also keeping tabs on the situation.
The Reds are said to be current favourites in the race, although Spanish giants Real Madrid remain extremely keen, according to ESPN.
The same report has suggested that a source connected to a rival bidding club believe Liverpool are already building a close relationship with the player’s camp and even preparing the framework for a potential deal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are keen to rebuild their midfield and opted against spending big last summer in hope of eventually landing Bellingham, instead signing Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus for the time being.
Liverpool will be keen to spend big on the youngster this summer after a somewhat miserable start to the new Premier League season.
The sticking point for Liverpool could be if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, not only potentially deterring Bellingham, but also making it financially more difficult.
Real Madrid, however, are keen to beat off Liverpool to his signature as they continue to rebuild their midfield with Bellingham a key target.
Los Blancos are targeting Bellingham to replace 37-year-old Luka Modric, who is still leading the midfield, even despite slowly changing the guard already.
The Spanish and European champions have already signed French pair Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga, and Fede Valverde is developing into one of the world’s best midfielders – while seeing Casemiro depart for Manchester United.
Real still have both Modric and Kroos, but are clearly planning for life after that key midfield duo with their recent additions, and are now focused on Bellingham to complete a new-look midfield.
The LaLiga outfit are also in a strong position to snap up his services due to the strong relationship between club president Florentino Perez and Borussia’s CEO Joachim Watzke.
It is believed the Bundesliga club, who tied Bellingham down to a new four-year contract in 2021, will demand at least £129m for his services.
His stock could yet rise even further if he can perform on the world stage for England at the 2022 Qatar World Cup later this month.
Bellingham has already produced nine goals and picked up a further three assists in all competitions for Dortmund so far this campaign.
In total, he has made 109 appearances for Dortmund after moving to Germany for £25million from Birmingham in 2020.