Liverpool ‘leading rivals in Jude Bellingham transfer slog’ as rele…

England fans sing in Liverpool before crucial World Cup game

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Liverpool are leading the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the battle to sign Jude Bellingham, according to reports. The England international has been in sensational form this season for club and country and has emerged as one of the players of the World Cup so far. And any change of ownership at Anfield is unlikely to impact the Reds’ hunt for the 19-year-old.

Bellingham has been in outstanding form for England at the World Cup so far this winter, starting all four games for his country and scoring in their 6-2 win over Iran on matchday one.

There’s an expectancy he’ll leave Borussia Dortmund come the end of the season, with the Bundesliga giants apparently keen to receive a fee in the region of £150million for their prized asset.

According to the Daily Mail, however, Liverpool are frontrunners in the race to sign Bellingham – despite rivals such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid all being keen as well.

It’s claimed there have been ‘rumours of a release clause’, suggesting the 19-year-old won’t be as expensive as has previously been claimed.

Liverpool are set to have new owners in the foreseeable future, with FSG ready to offload the Merseyside giants.

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Yet that’s unlikely to hinder any potential pursuit of Bellingham, who would walk into their midfield given his outstanding talent.

Bellingham has struck up a good relationship with Jordan Henderson while on international duty, with the Liverpool star recently praising his compatriot by saying: “He is a one-off and we have just got to let him keep enjoying his football.

“He’s only 19, so let him enjoy it.

“He has been incredible in this tournament but for a long period of time now that has been the case with Borussia Dortmund and he has carried it into here.

“He is going to keep going from strength to strength and being a big player for England.”

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One thing that may be key, however, is Liverpool qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

They’ve had a slow start to the campaign under Jurgen Klopp and sit seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who have played a game more.

If Liverpool do win the race for Bellingham it will be a substantial coup and the report adds the Reds have been preparing for any potential arrival with their transfer strategy in recent years.

Eyebrows were raised when they signed Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus back in the summer.

But this, it seems, was just a way of papering over the cracks until Liverpool are able to bring Bellingham to Anfield at the end of the campaign.

Speaking earlier in the World Cup, meanwhile, Gary Neville expressed a belief Bellingham should snub Liverpool to stay at Dortmund to aid his development.

“We will hold talks now, as soon as [the World Cup in] Qatar is over, and then we’ll have a fundamental talk about what he would like,” he said.

“He just needs to tell us if he’d like to stay or if he’d like to go.

“In both cases we’ll talk about it very pleasantly and reasonably together.

“In general we can imagine that he’d stay with us, but we can’t behave as if this topic wasn’t on the table. If he says ‘I’d like to do something else,’ then the really big [clubs] in Europe will be there and we can’t afford to fight financially.”

He added: “What do you think about him staying over there for a bit longer and developing a bit more?

“He has been unbelievable. Do you think he would look at Haaland, he has been a sensation since he has come, but Sancho has been a really difficult one.

“Will he be looking at both situations and thinking: ‘What is best for me?'”

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