Nobody who reads our column should be surprised because that’s what we’ve been saying all this time! The Premier League remains the first target for Jude Bellingham. I’ve always said Liverpool would be his preferred target but, of course, everyone knows that they’re not doing too well at the moment.
It’s also a hope for Dortmund still that, if Liverpool aren’t playing in Europe, there’s the possibility of extending Bellingham’s stay by a year. Dortmund has a good chance of winning the Bundesliga, it’s very close. So there could be a chance that Bellingham waits for Liverpool.
[Jude Bellingham in action for Borussia Dortmund – (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)]
He seems very clear in his plans. I heard that, before Enzo Fernández’s move to London, Bellingham was looking at what was going on at Chelsea. Chelsea were interested but Bellingham saw there wasn’t a clear plan at the club, so there wasn’t a massive amount of interest in going there.
Newcastle were interested, that’s for sure, but they’re not in the range of clubs Bellingham’s seriously considering joining in the summer, despite their good form this term. If he’s going to leave Dortmund, it will be for a top club, so he’s still keeping an eye on circumstances at Liverpool.
Marcus Thuram is on a lot of lists because he’s an interesting player and a cheap option for the summer. He’s a good fit for Atlético Madrid’s system but the agents are still testing the market for him, so no decision has been made in any particular direction. He’s also still connected to Premier League clubs.
When a player changes agents, he’s always going to think about changing his club – that’s certainly the case with Jonathan Tah. I’ve heard that there aren’t any offers for him on the table yet.
But I’ve also heard that his new management is checking the Premier League market. They think the player would be a good fit there. There were rumours with Chelsea who have a dossier on him – plus talks with Manchester United but nothing came of those – and there were talks with old agents. So, you see he is an interesting option for the Premier League and the new management will try and get him to a Premier League club.
Yann Sommer has a contract until 2025, he’s 34. Manuel Neuer will be 37 in March and still has a contract until 2024. So, you see, there could be a big change coming in the goalkeeping department.
Julian Nagelsmann had a problem with Toni Tapalovi? who had been Hansi Flick’s assistant. It was a downgrade to then just become the goalkeeper coach under Nagelsmann, so the relationship was very difficult.
[Manuel Neuer in conversation with ex-Bayern Munich goalkeeper coach Toni Tapolovi? – (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)]
It’s worth noting that Tapalovi? joined Bayern with Neuer 11 years ago – they’re big friends; Tapalovi? was Neuer’s best man at his wedding. It’s a friendship, they’re very close but this became a problem, as Tapalovi? couldn’t stay neutral in the situation. This was certainly the case when Alexander Nübel was still at the club.
Julian Nagelsmann had the chance to change things around, thanks in no small part to Manuel Neuer’s injury, by bringing in a goalkeeper coach, Michael Rechner, who he already knows from Hoffenheim. He can be neutral, which is key ahead of Neuer’s eventual return from injury to compete with Yann Sommer for a starting spot.
Nobody knows how or when Neuer’s coming back, so, at the moment, Sommer has a good chance of holding on to the No.1 spot. We’ll have to see how Neuer will handle this; perhaps he’ll lose the fight and then there’ll be a new goalkeeper on the market, which will be very interesting.
? Should Bayern look to get rid of Neuer at the earliest opportunity? Which Premier League club should try to sign him, if so? Let me know below!
Bayern Munich are doing everything to get a new contract for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, so they can be relaxed with regard to the ongoing speculation around Harry Kane.
They know, if it will be a question of money, that it will be difficult for them after their exploits in the market, including the signing of Yann Sommer.
They also know that Tottenham aren’t keen on the idea of losing Kane to another Premier League club – I heard there’s going to be a decision made on this within the club, so that could offer Bayern a big chance. Harry Kane isn’t currently earning in line with his quality, Tottenham aren’t providing a massive wage packet as things currently stand, so Bayern see a chance and they know that the player isn’t looking to make a decision in the near future.
Time is working out in Bayern’s favour at the moment. That’s why it’s a good idea to try and secure an agreement with Choupo-Moting and then they can wait to see if Kane’s contract continues to run out. Bayern have to keep hoping that Tottenham won’t sell to a club like United.
Everyone knows that Harry Kane is just leaving to win titles. I’m not sure if Manchester United can guarantee that at the moment but Bayern Munich can.
I heard from the club that they’re not interested in Daichi Kamada. We can also rule out a move for Álex Grimaldo – nothing true in that.
I heard that Hansi Flick is an idea as a potential replacement for Graham Potter. I know about the rumours that surfaced after he was spotted at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s clash with Fulham but he was actually there because of Kai Havertz.
Chelsea were knocking at Flick’s door back when Marina Granovskaia held a role with the club. Hansi Flick also told me that there were concrete talks with Tottenham at this time but then he decided on taking up the position of Bundestrainer (Germany head coach).
But now, not Todd Boehly himself, a middleman knocked on the door of Hansi Flick. I asked Flick about this and he said ‘no comment’. It would be easier for him to say it wasn’t true but he didn’t, so you see there is something there but it’s not an option for Hansi Flick because he wants to remain in charge of Germany for the Euros taking place on home soil in 2024.
? Should Chelsea sack Graham Potter if they fail to secure Champions League qualification this season? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Dennis Geiger could become Sean Dyche’s first signing for Everton. There is serious interest there, he’s 24 and is set to become a free agent in the summer. Also, Frankfurt and Benfica are interested, so I think there will be competition between Frankfurt and Everton.
[Sean Dyche secured an impressive first win for Everton against league leaders Arsenal – (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)]
Frankfurt has to act on the position and they need someone but Everton has a bit more money. I think Geiger’s future could be up to these two clubs.
I heard that Premier League clubs knocked on the door for Ansgar Knauff, there are a few clubs keen on him. But it seems that there will be a decision between Dortmund and Frankfurt at the moment. Dortmund can get him back from his loan spell if they want to but then they’re getting Julian Ryerson from Union Berlin who has a similar profile to Knauff.
So, there’s a good chance that Frankfurt will have an opportunity to buy him but they don’t want to spend more than €10m. If Dortmund gets a better offer from an interested Premier League club that appeals to Knauff, that could be an option for the player. At the moment, I believe he’s thinking about staying in Frankfurt but, as I often say, it’s a question of money, and Premier League clubs are interested in him.
I think qualification for Champions League football isn’t the only interesting point for Jude Bellingham as far as Liverpool’s interest in the player is concerned – if they don’t qualify, it wouldn’t be a no-go for the player.
Of course, the bigger question we’re always talking about is whether Liverpool have the money to buy him in the first place if they don’t secure top four football at the end of the season.
Perhaps they’ll have a new owner who will provide the necessary finances to sign Bellingham, perhaps they’ll still qualify for the Champions League and can buy him.
I think it’s a good sign from Spain that they now understand Jude Bellingham’s preference for a move lies within the Premier League. It’s a good sign for Liverpool fans too that it’s not the case he doesn’t want to wait for the club – he’s not nervous about the decision.
I think it’s more likely that Naby Keïta will leave Liverpool [rather than sign a new contract]. He’s with the same agency [ROOF] as Sadio Mané and the agency has already said, as was the case with Mané, that he won’t sign a new contract. He’s a free agent in the summer and it’s worth remembering that RB Leipzig knocked on the door for the midfielder in January but Klopp said no.
I think there’s a good chance of Leipzig signing the player. Keïta is playing at Liverpool but could get a good place in the Leipzig team.
It seems like a bit of a business model for Leipzig to sell their players to English clubs in big deals before later bringing them back cheaply. We’ve seen this with Timo Werner who left for Chelsea in a €53m deal – they got him back two years later €20m. They sold Keïta to Liverpool for €60m and now they can get him as a free agent. It would be a good deal for Leipzig and Keïta can see there being playing opportunities for him back in Germany.
Randal Kolo Muani is with a new agency, which is spreading rumours of interest in their client. I can say that Bayern Munich haven’t made an offer or expressed interest in the player – I think I can say the same for Liverpool. I think the agents have tried to create a market for the player but I wouldn’t bet on the rumours around the player.
He’s a very interesting player and things could get even more interesting in the summer but I wouldn’t take these rumours seriously.
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João Cancelo has been a target of Bayern’s for over four years. They took the chance on him and have already told Cancelo that it won’t be possible to pay the €70m in the summer for him – they don’t have the money. They want to keep their cards open with him.
But there’s still hope they can get him cheaper. If something were to happen to Manchester City in the near future – keeping in mind the current investigation into alleged financial irregularities – perhaps it might encourage the club to sell players and then Bayern could get Cancelo for a smaller fee. The Bundesliga is keeping an eye on this, as Cancelo is enjoying his time in Munich and I think he would like to stay. This could make the poker in the summer a little easier for Bayern, that’s the hope.
Fabrizio Romano to CaughtOffside: Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell is one of the players who has been appreciated by Manchester City for years. For sure he’s one of the LB to consider, but I’m told not the only one. They will have a shortlist of players in that position and will decide how to proceed together with Pep in May/June.
Could Manchester United move to sign Tammy Abraham? Click here to find out more!
? Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are tracking Ansu Fati’s situation at Barcelona amid speculation that the 20-year-old star could leave the Catalan club (SPORT via CaughtOffside)
Hoffenheim have a new coach in Pellegrino Matarazzo. In my opinion, I think Ralph Hasenhüttl wanted a better club.
No, the rumours that Joško Gvardiol has offered himself to Real Madrid are not true. He’s very relaxed at the moment and the plan is that he should stay put until 2024. But, you know, his future can still be a topic up for discussion this summer.
I think it’s getting interesting in terms of what Liverpool and Chelsea are doing. Gvardiol has made no secret of the fact that his favourite club as a child was Liverpool and that he was always dreaming of moving there. When we see what is happening at Liverpool at the moment, it’s clear they need players in this position.
He’s keeping an eye on the Premier League, of course. If Real Madrid come in, it’s also interesting for him but he hasn’t offered himself to the club. We have to also see if Real Madrid’s interest is serious. I’m not sure on that point as they’ve already got good players in this position, so I would keep on Premier League clubs at the moment.