Rio Ferdinand believes that Jude Bellingham has “already outgrown” Borussia Dortmund, but the ambitious Bundesliga side are hoping to keep the England star long-term amid a new “philosophy”.
Bellingham was in action for Dortmund at The Etihad against Manchester City on Wednesday night and the watching scouts will have been suitably impressed. Not only did the midfielder head his side into the lead, but he was simply all-over the pitch.
BVBBuzz described his performance as “simply incredible” and there’s no doubt he is a player well beyond his 19 years. He is one of a dying bread – a box-to-box midfielder in the Steven Gerrard mould.
Liverpool have been heavily linked with the starlet and no doubt Liverpool’s Julian Ward had representatives watching him against City.
The Reds are understood to have held talks with BVB over Bellingham. Reports last month even claimed Liverpool have a “verbal agreement” in place to sign the star.
Europe’s other big guns will also have eyes on the former Birmingham man, who is under contract until 2025.
Dortmund made a point of stating Bellingham was not for sale in the summer transfer market. But his development will make it difficult for the German side to keep him.
Time to leave for Bellingham?
And Ferdinand believes the time has already come for Bellingham to leave.
Ferdinand BT Sport: “I think he’s even sitting there like without being too arrogant but thinking ‘I’ve probably outgrown Borussia Dortmund already’ I think he’ll be sitting there saying that with all due respect.
“Thinking I’m a year behind when I should’ve left because he’s got that self belief that you need to take you to them heights.”
In the lead up to the clash with City, Bellingham said it would be ‘disrespectful’ to Dortmund to even consider a move.
“It’s not something I am thinking about, to be honest,” he told BT Sport. “The club have done loads for me and made me feel very welcome since I first came and gave me the opportunities to develop even further. To look past that and into the future would be disrespectful.”
Dortmund know that suitors will come calling for Bellingham again in January. But sporting director Sebastian Kehl is confident BVB can keep hold of Bellingham.
‘Committed’ to Dortmund
They eventually found it impossible to keep Erling Haaland, but Kehl has revealed the club’s “philosophy” is evolving. And Bellingham is the superstar they want to keep and build a team around.
“Jude is very happy at the club, he is very committed to us,” Kehl told BT Sport ahead of his side’s clash with City. “Hopefully he can stay over next season and for a long time. Then we come back to the beginning of the interview, we try to keep our best players.
“Jude is one of those and we try to keep them for as long as possible. But we will see what will happen but not at the moment. We would like to change the policy but we are in the market. And we would like to keep our best players longer than the last few years – it’s impossible [to keep them sometimes].
“We want to play for titles and that’s the most important thing for players to be at a club who can improve but in the end, money is another aspect and England pays a lot more than Germany. We have to renew our philosophy every year.”
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