After their futile chase of Aurelien Tchouameni left them with this midfield, Liverpool can’t afford to make the same mistake with Jude Bellingham. What Real Madrid want they almost always get.
“We were going for a midfielder who decided to go to another club, which can happen,” Klopp said at the end of August, leading everyone to quickly comb through completed summer transfers and months old rumors to work out it was Aurelien Tchouameni who had spurned Liverpool’s advances in favor of Real Madrid.
The France international later revealed that he held “discussions” with Liverpoolwho were “the first to come forward” before Real Madrid “arrived” and “everything was clear”.
The Reds will hope that was a one-off. But Madrid are reportedly ‘trying to repeat the same strategy’ to beat them to Jude Bellingham. It doesn’t appear to be more of a strategy than We Are Real Madrid – an age-old principle which was seen them historically usurp every club ever in a big d*ck contest which requires little more than a tight pair of jeans.
Klopp is said to have traveled to court Tchouameni personally and with that evidently not enough to dull the attraction of Madrid, is pulling out further stops to prevent Bellingham’s gaze being similarly drawn to the Spanish giants.
Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold appeared to be sent to Qatar with strict chaperoning responsibilities for Bellinghamwhose father could be offered a scouting role by Liverpool, while his brother joins the academy and their mother is presumably to be handed a role in the analytics department or, f*** it, made sporting director.
Klopp apparently sees Bellingham as the ‘perfect fit’ for Liverpool and he’s got previous in identifying those ideal additions, signing them and proving to be absolutely right in his assessment. Virgil van Dijk, Alisson and Fabinho are the best examples of those laser-focused transfer pursuits reaping reward.
But Real Madrid were unlikely to battle Liverpool for players from Southampton, Roma and Monaco. Van Dijk, Alisson and Fabinho were very good footballers before they joined, but were only appreciated as being world class – whether they were or weren’t before – having arrived at Anfield.
Tchouameni and Bellingham are among the most obvious transfer targets in world football. They’ve both starred for their nations and have stood out at their clubs despite their tender ages. There’s no mystique whatsoever when it comes to either. And any club that targets the world’s best is going to be beaten by Madrid to the world’s best at one time or another, and will be again if Los Blancos decides to flex their muscles.
Which is why, this time, Liverpool have to have a back-up plan. They went hell for leather for Tchouameni, failed, and ended up with Arthur Melo on loan. That failure, not to put too fine a point on it, has completely f***ed their season.
Without large sums of money to spend, Klopp continually reiterates that Liverpool will only sign “the right” players that will improve their squad and team, which makes perfect sense whether you’ve got lots of money or not. The question is does Klopp actually mean “the right” player or does he mean “the perfect” player?
Because there might be ten players who can play where and how Klopp wants in midfield – “the right” fit – but there’s only one Bellingham. And having missed out on Tchouameni last summer they should have learned the cost of being so one-tracked.
Sofyan Amrabat, Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez have all been linked to varying degrees and any of those three would likely improve Liverpool’s midfield significantly. And the goal has to be improvement over perfection this time, or Liverpool run the risk of doing everything to sign a player whom Madrid need barely flutter their eyelashes at to seduce entirely.