Liverpool were backed to win the race to sign Jude Bellingham, while the midfielder will prove Rio Ferdinand wrong.
The Reds are among clubs in contention to sign Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund ahead of this summer’s transfer window.
The Bundesliga side are hoping they can entice the England international into signing a new contract, but a move elsewhere is likely.
Bellingham is under contract until 2025, so Dortmund can demand a huge fee for the teenager. A report earlier this week said the asking price for the central midfielder will be a “minimum” £110m.
Real Madrid are also looking to sign Bellingham. The Spanish side beat Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Speaking after this week’s second leg, Ferdinand predicted Bellingham would choose to join Real Madrid if Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League ahead of next season.
“I just think if he looks at it tonight, he’s sitting there thinking if Real Madrid and Liverpool are for me, there’s only one place I can go, and [Liverpool] not finish [in the] Champions League [places] even maybe,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“As a player, you look at him coldly and go ‘I see more trophies here’.”
Jurgen Klopp’s team are currently sixth in the Premier League. They are six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with one game left.
Paul Merson disagrees with Ferdinand’s prediction about Bellingham. The Arsenal legend does not believe playing in the Champions League will be essential for the 19-year-old.
“I understand where Rio Ferdinand is coming from when he says Jude Bellingham will pick Real Madrid over Liverpool based on their Champions League knockout clash.” Merson wrote for The Daily Star.
“But I’ve read stories about Bellingham and his family and all they were interested in was making sure he played football when they chose Borussia Dortmund over Manchester United.
‘A year out of the Champions League at 19 will not define his career if Liverpool miss out on fourth place. He’s not a selfish player and my feeling is that he likes the challenge.
‘It’s fine to play in the Champions League, but what’s the point if you don’t win it anyway? He’s an example to every guy out there, it’s not about the money, it’s about performing. I still think he could swallow a year out of the Champions League if Liverpool don’t qualify. He has a very long career ahead of him.’
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