Believe it or not, Liverpool’s interest in Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham dates back nearly a decade.
What’s the word?
That is according to James Pearce, Laurie Whitwell and others in a joint-report for The Athletic this week which stated that the England international was with Birmingham City under-11’s when he attracted the interest of Liverpool scouts.
As the report mentions, Bellingham left a lasting impression during his two-day stint at the Reds’ Kirkby academy, with both his ability and maturity shining through.
As per the same report, it is said that Liverpool were hoping to convince his family to relocate and would have enrolled the starlet in Rainhill High School.
However, whilst their contingency plan was in place and represented their desire to sign Bellingham, their offer was not tempting enough. His parents opted against uprooting the family, duly staying put in Birmingham, where the future England international would go on to progress through to the first team and even have his shirt number retired.
Perhaps the most gutting thing to come out of this report is the revelation that the Reds could have sealed Bellingham’s signing fee for a meagre £9,000 in compensation.
Fast-forward to the present day and the 19-year-old is now valued at €150m (£132m) by Borussia Dortmund (as per The Athletic), who prised the gem away from boyhood club Birmingham City for an initial fee of £25m in 2020.
FSG owners Liverpool will be gutted at what they missed out upon.
The 19-year-old is one of the most sought-after prospects in world football, with his ability to progress the ball one of his greatest strengths, having averaged three successful dribbles per game so far this season, the highest such average at Dortmund.
The £49k-per-week midfielder’s competency as a playmaker is also prominent, with six chances and two big chances created per game an indicator of his value to Dortmund, despite his native positioning as a pivot in a 4-2-3-1 system.
There seems no doubt that the “incredible” teenager, as dubbed by Declan Rice (via Mail Online), could thrive under Jurgen Klopp and reach that next level.
However, it would set the Reds back a fair bit to sign him now, and that will hurt FSG, knowing that they could have got him for a snip of a fee less than a decade ago if they had made a stronger case to Bellingham’s parents at the time of their visit to Kirkby.