FSG should give Liverpool fans reason to believe after defeating Jude Bellingham

For Liverpool fans affected by the way this miserable season has played out, the prospect of the club signing Jude Bellingham in the summer provides much-needed relief.

It was to be a display of the ambition they crave – evidence that Liverpool were serious about challenging for the big trophy once again by breaking the transfer record for the most talented young midfielder in Europe.

Jurgen Klopp has made no secret of his admiration for the England international. Last July he said the “only problem” with Bellingham was that he was not available for transfer at the time, and after watching the 19-year-old light up the ensuing Winter World Cup in Qatar, Klopp said: “Everyone can see that he Just exceptional.”

Yes, there was always stiff competition for his signature given that other suitors have considerably deeper pockets, but Liverpool felt the perfect fit for a youngster who had grown up idolizing Steven Gerrard. He would have been the face of their midfield rebuild and possibly their talisman for the next decade.

Friendships had already been made while on international duty with Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who went with Bellingham to see American musician Chris Brown in concert last month. When asked about Bellingham’s future recently, Henderson joined the magic attack: “If he ends up at Liverpool (joining from current club Borussia Dortmund) that would be great. His potential is through the roof.”


Jordan Henderson spoke with Jude Bellingham while on international duty with England. (Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

It now appears that this potential is being realized elsewhere. The Anfield hierarchy insists that, after intense discussions, they are no longer in the running to sign Bellingham this summer.

The cynics will inevitably wonder if this is just a ploy to either get Dortmund to drop his price or be put up because Liverpool think he has already decided to move to a rival club.

However, the truth is that it has become increasingly clear in recent weeks that Liverpool’s hopes of acquiring Bellingham are waning. the athleteDavid Ornstein wrote last month about how the greater financial strength of Manchester City and Real Madrid put those clubs in far stronger positions to secure his services.

Liverpool conceding defeat in pursuit of a player who had long been their number one target led to understandable anger and frustration among the fans.

Club owner Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has long been accused of not investing enough in Klopp’s squad, and this will add more fuel to that fire. Earlier this season, Klopp admitted there were occasions when he would like to “take a little bit more risk” in the transfer market.


Many Liverpool fans have lost patience with the club’s owner FSG (Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

When Liverpool didn’t pursue Plan B in midfield last summer after missing out on France international Aurelien Chouamini, who moved from Monaco to Real Madrid, the message was clear: They were sitting tight because the player they wanted wasn’t available at the time. time. There will be no middle ground. The message was repeated in this year’s January window.

And now it finally looks like Bellingham could be taken away from Dortmund, they have opted out. Why?

Senior sources at Anfield insist they have reached a point where “the deal stopped making sense”. A transfer fee of around £130m ($162.1m), with wages and agent fees added on top, would have taken up a significant portion of Klopp’s overall budget for the next window.

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Moreover, Liverpool had no guarantees that Bellingham would definitely leave Dortmund this summer – or choose to go to Anfield if he did. The fear was that he would last until the summer and then if they then botched Bellingham then substitute targets such as Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Brighton’s Alexis McAllister might already have been snapped up by rivals. Klopp wants to get the club’s business done early, so his full squad has been together since the start of pre-season at the start of July.

Earlier this season, Liverpool had envisioned Bellingham available for around £80m, but his World Cup play has significantly raised his profile and price. However, the biggest shift in explaining why they pulled out is realizing how much surgery Klopp’s side will need ahead of next season.

If Liverpool only needed Bellingham to become a major force again, it would be a different matter, but the team’s glaring failures over the course of this season have exposed the fact that four or five new faces are needed. Klopp needs at least two, ideally three, new midfielders, the back line also needs to be strengthened and Liverpool must decide whether to replace outgoing striker Roberto Firmino.


Jurgen Klopp needs support this summer to overhaul his Liverpool squad. (Photo: Sean Bottrell/Getty Images)

In this climate, it was felt that they simply could not justify spending so much on one player, particularly given their waning hopes of playing in the Champions League next season. Just four wins in 13 league matches since the start of the year has left them 12 points short of the top four with nine matches remaining.

Not being among Europe’s elite for the first time since 2016-17 will greatly affect revenue streams for a club that FSG operates on a self-sustaining business model. The owners do not withdraw money from the club, but they do not invest their own money either.

FSG has been looking for new investments for the past six months, but talks about selling a minority stake in the club are still ongoing. Klopp has been assured that significant funds will be available in the next window, but it will clearly not be enough to buy Bellingham and carry out all the other improvements required either.

You can understand the logic of dropping out of the race at this point while simultaneously bemoaning a hiring strategy that left them needing to do so much in one window.

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No Bellingham – so who could Liverpool sign instead this summer?

Take, for example, the inadequate midfield section, which has become a very glaring issue.

Yes, the scale of Henderson and Fabinho’s descent from the heights of last season was unpredictable, but Thiago’s fitness problems were well known. Also was the erratic contrast between Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who were supposed to be transferred last summer. James Milner turned 37 in January, while youngsters Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are still learning their trade.

Liverpool were crying out for an injection of energy and proven quality into their midfield last summer. it did not arrive. They ended up panicking after injuries ran deep that window and paid a £4m loan fee for Juventus’ Arthur Melo, who played just 13 minutes of football for them. The club misjudged what they had at their disposal, and it cost them dear.

Thiago remains the only midfielder Liverpool have bought since Keita’s arrival from Leipzig in the summer of 2018.

If they had been recruited more wisely last summer (most of their resources were spent on forward Darwin Nunez, who had a mixed first season), they wouldn’t have been out of the top four or needed to bring in as many fresh faces. They were in a much better place to attract and afford Bellingham.

“Everything we will do next year will not be enough from people’s point of view and from your point of view,” Klopp said ahead of last weekend’s game against Arsenal. “But, yeah, with smart hiring we will definitely improve. That’s the plan.”

All eyes will be on where Liverpool are heading now. The pressure will be lifted on the owners to provide the required support.

Bellingham’s signing was a true statement of intent. Leaving the way open for others to do so may be practical, but it’s also deflationary.

It shows Liverpool’s financial limitations and the scale of the challenge facing Klopp this summer.

(Top photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

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