Rumour Has It: Could Jude Bellingham shun the Premier League for Real Madrid?

By Sports Desk September 22, 2022

Arguably the most in-demand teenager in world football, Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham reportedly has Real Madrid as his preferred destination.

Bellingham, who only turned 19 in June, has already racked up 68 Bundesliga appearances and 18 Champions League games since arriving from Birmingham City ahead of the 2020-21 season. He has scored in both of his Champions League games this campaign, including one against Manchester City.

While he has already been awarded 15 senior international caps for England, and is preparing for his first World Cup, Spain's El Chiringuito TV has made the shocking claim that Bellingham will shun the Premier League altogether and head to Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – SPANISH MEDIA BELIEVES BELLINGHAM HAS CHOSEN REAL MADRID

It has been strongly suggested this will be Bellingham's last season with Dortmund, with Liverpool being consistently linked through this past transfer window, and even querying to see if he would be available in January.

His status as one of England's top teenagers has guaranteed the interest of all of the Premier League's top sides, although a report from The Athletic UK claims Dortmund will hold firm at an asking price of €150million, leaving few with the capabilities to get a deal done.

One team guaranteed to have the required spending power are Spanish giants Madrid, and while his popularity in England is already locked in due to his international status, it might be a case of believing his best chance of becoming a truly transcendent star in the game is to do it at one of the traditional powerhouse clubs.

With that being said, Liverpool have been proactive in their chase of Bellingham, and both they and Manchester City boast the necessary level of worldwide fame, recent success and deep pockets to convince any budding superstar that they are the right choice.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sport is reporting Barcelona's Sergio Busquets will head to MLS and join Inter Miami at the end of the season.

– According to Calciomercato, Milan will make a move for Salzburg striker Noah Okafor in January as their forward depth has been impacted through injuries.

– Sports Today claims Juventus have been in contact with Tottenham's Antonio Conte as they weigh up potentially parting ways with Massimiliano Allegri, with Conte said to be open to the idea after this season.

Arsenal are being linked with 24-year-old Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli, who has reportedly not impressed Allegri since arriving from Sassuolo, according to Calciomercato.

– L'Equipe is reporting that Ousmane Dembele – who was signed for a base fee of €105m in 2017 – has a €50m release clause in his new contract that will be active at the end of the season, with Dembele set to receive half of that €50m if a deal gets done to compensate him for accepting no signing bonus.

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    Lionel Messi is destined to return to Barcelona one day as the player and club "deserve one last dance together", according to the Catalan giants' sporting director Jordi Cruyff.

    Paris Saint-Germain star Messi's 21-year association with Barca came to an end in August 2021 as the club could not afford a new deal under LaLiga's financial fair play rules.

    Messi is now into his second season with PSG, but he is out of contract at the end of the campaign and has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.

    The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner turns 36 next year and Cruyff hopes to see him back at Camp Nou in the future, though accepts that it may not be in a playing capacity.

    "It's clear Barcelona and Messi have to be together again one day," Cruyff told RAC1. "It may be after his career, but they deserve a final hug, one last dance together."

    Messi scored 672 goals across 778 appearances for Barcelona and provided a further 265 assists, amounting to 937 goal involvements across that trophy-laden spell.

    He featured more times (219) and scored more goals (211) under Pep Guardiola than any other head coach, with the Catalan winning 14 trophies in four seasons at the helm.

    Guardiola has since spent three seasons with Bayern Munich and is into his seventh season with Manchester City, where he remains under contract until July 2025.

    Speaking this week, Guardiola said he would return to Barcelona one day if the club needed him, adding that "nothing is comparable" to managing a club so close to your heart.

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    "Not many have reached that point; it's the dream of every professional. Whether he returns or not, I have no idea. I think he's happy at City."

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid identify Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as new top target Rumour Has It: Real Madrid identify Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as new top target

    Real Madrid have reportedly pivoted away from Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and are now treating Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as their top transfer target.

    Bellingham, 19, was considered the top priority for the Spanish giants, but a report from Marca claims they now believe he is destined for the Premier League and will instead focus their resources on 21-year-old Fernandez.

    Fernandez arrived at Benfica in June after they were able to pry him away from River Plate for a deal worth up to €18million including add-ons, but his exploits on the Champions League stage – including assists against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus – have that price looking like a steal.

     

    TOP STORY – REAL MADRID SET THEIR SIGHTS ON ARGENTINA'S NEW STAR

    Fernandez was handed his international debut as a 20-year-old back in November 2021, and his continued growth on the European stage earned his spot in Argentina's World Cup squad.

    Not content to purely come along for the ride, Fernandez was brought on as a substitute in each of his side's first two group games, and against Mexico he became Argentina's youngest goalscorer at a World Cup since Lionel Messi in 2006.

    His ability to both break into and perform for such a quality international side – entering the tournament on a 35-match unbeaten streak before falling to Saudi Arabia – has reportedly sent Fernandez's transfer value through the roof.

    Marca's report claims he is now viewed as a €100m talent by Benfica, and they expect to field offers in that neighbourhood soon.

     

    ROUND-UP

    – According to Relevo, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag views the Netherlands' World Cup hero Cody Gakpo as his ideal replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

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    Bayern Munich remain interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane and are working on an offer between €80-100m, per Sky Sports Germany.

    – The Sun is reporting Chelsea are not happy with both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga and will look to bring in a new first-choice goalkeeper.

    – With Rafael Leao likely leaving Milan at the end of the season, Gazzetta dello Sport claims they will try to fill the void with RB Salzburg's 22-year-old Swiss international Noah Okafor.

  • Allegri going nowhere following mass resignation of Juventus board, says Elkann Allegri going nowhere following mass resignation of Juventus board, says Elkann

    Massimiliano Allegri will remain at Juventus following the resignation of the club's entire board, according to John Elkann, chief executive of the club's majority ownership group Exor.

    After an emergency meeting on Monday, Juve announced key figures including president Andrea Agnelli, vice-president Pavel Nedved and managing director Maurizio Arrivabene had all quit their roles.

    The exodus comes amid an investigation into tax fraud allegations – which the Bianconeri have denied, and follows the club's registration of record €254.3million losses for 2021-22.

    While LaLiga has called on UEFA to apply "immediate sporting sanctions" to the Bianconeri, Exor chief Elkann has moved to allay fears the boardroom turmoil may impact on-pitch matters.

    "Massimiliano Allegri remains the point of reference in the Juventus sports area," Elkann said.

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    Elkann also paid tribute to Agnelli's achievements as Juve president, adding: "I want to thank my cousin Andrea for giving us extraordinary emotions, which we will never forget. 

    "In these 12 years, we have won so much. The credit is mainly his, as well as the women and men who have achieved memorable goals under his leadership.

    "Our history speaks of victories and gives us the strength we need precisely in these moments. With the support and affection of our fans, we have the opportunity to build an extraordinary future."

    Allegri, who faced serious scrutiny after overseeing Juve's group-stage exit from the Champions League earlier this campaign, joined Elkann in praising Agnelli's work in Turin. 

    "It is always very positive to feel the closeness of the shareholders, and therefore I thank John Elkann for these words," he said.

    "In recent years of work, passion and victories, I have always been able to count on the support of Andrea Agnelli, to whom I am bound by a friendship that will not end with the end of his presidency."

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