The good news for Liverpool is that there is no news at the moment; no one has made an offer.
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I heard that Jude Bellingham is keeping a very close eye on what Liverpool are doing at the moment. I’ve been told nobody should think he’s a player that wouldn’t go to Liverpool because of the difficult situation they’re in. It’s the other way around – he’s actually the kind of guy who would love to go to a club where he can change their fortunes.
At Liverpool, he sees that the club is in need of him and that he can build something there, so that’s why the side remains an interesting option for him.
[Jude Bellingham continues to be linked with Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid – (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)]
As you see in the Premier League, they’re not massively far away from the Champions League places but it’s important to note that Champions League qualification isn’t a deal-breaker for Bellingham. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt Liverpool’s chances!
Jurgen Klopp’s already mentioned in his interviews that something has to change and it’s clear, when you see the positions in need of reinforcement, Liverpool need someone like Jude Bellingham.
Everyone’s talking about Liverpool’s defence; okay, they’re not brilliant at the moment but that’s connected with the role Bellingham would potentially play in front of the backline. He’s one player who could offer a multitude of solutions and would have an instant impact at Liverpool.
He’s the captain at Dortmund and if he goes to another club he might be one of many leading talents – at Liverpool he would be a leader from the first moment.
Jonathan Johnson’s column: I know for a fact that, with some of the Premier League clubs who’ve been looking at Balogun, there have been questions asked about the level he’s playing at in Ligue 1, which I think is part and parcel of how the Premier League views itself.
I don’t believe he’s playing at an inferior level, so his numbers shouldn’t be discarded. He’s been very impressive, and I think a number of clubs in, say, the Bundesliga will be very interested in him. You look at players like Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea, and they’re in that kind of mould, so I think there’ll be a lot of interest in him this summer. Arsenal, being the parent club, will have a significant say over his future, but I think he’s one to watch.
I talked to Bayern Munich again about Guglielmo Vicario. Normally I have my ‘True’ or ‘Not True’ indicators for stories online. I asked someone from Bayern Munich whether there was any truth in the rumours and normally I get, perhaps, one cross back – this time there were five crosses! So I don’t know what Empoli’s president is talking about.
Hakim Zyech was already rumoured as a Bayern target before he joined Chelsea. His agent tried really hard to bring him to Bayern Munich and always tried to sing his praises in the year of Hasan Salihamidži?. There were talks but Bayern, in the end, didn’t want to buy him. The agent then gave Bayern Munich a new timeslot and said they had to decide in the next 48 hours, otherwise, he was going to Chelsea.
I know there’s no interest at the moment. There are usually these same kinds of games when pushing a player on the market but Bayern Munich isn’t involved in the poker.
Mahmoud Dahoud has a very difficult situation at Dortmund with the club unwilling to extend his contract. This is because he earns a lot of money at Dortmund; he had a five-year contract where he could earn €9-10m per year, last year he had a one-year contract worth €7m-a-year. It’s a lot of money for a player who isn’t in the starting-XI, so that’s why he didn’t get a new contract.
So, I don’t believe in all the rumours; Napoli are one of the best teams in Europe at the moment, Leicester City could be in the right range (but we’ve heard nothing concrete on that at the moment) in terms of the quality they have available but I’m not sure if they’ll pay the money he’s looking for.
It’s been an interesting week for Yousouffa Moukoko. Chelsea and Newcastle United were interested in the player, though there were rumours around the latter not wanting him due to the allegations in terms of his age.
Now, a German court decided that the media is allowed to report about that. Before, there were just rumours but now journalists are allowed to ask the question ‘is he four years older?’ So this is very interesting for England because the rumours had been there.
[Youssoufa Moukoko has 12 goal contributions in 26 appearances for Borussia Dortmund this term – (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)]
In my point of view, I saw the document which says he’s four years older. It’s not been proven that it’s a true and authentic document but now we can discuss ‘is he four years older? That could be the case.’
I say that, at his current age, it’s not that important because he’s still young. If you give him a four or five-year contract he’s still the right age. Of course, it’s a question of education; how much better could he get if he’s 18 or 22, or at least 26/27 at the end of his contract? I think English clubs are keeping a closer eye on Moukoko and, in particular, this big question.
Dortmund are behind their player and, of course, were aware of the rumours. In Dortmund, however, they have to consider the fact that they could have the next great striker for the German national side (he was at the World Cup already and celebrated his 18th birthday there). We don’t have any good strikers at the moment, so it’s something to take into account.
There were always rumours about Bayern who had talks with the agent but were told ‘no’. I think it’s good for Moukoko that he’s got a new contract now and we’ll see how his development goes.
It doesn’t seem like Callum Hudson-Odoi has a big future in the Bundesliga. In the winter window, Chelsea had the option to bring him back to the club – that was the wish of Thomas Tuchel when he was the manager – but the side didn’t use it, so that says a lot about his education there.
Also, Leverkusen’s bosses are also quite disappointed with the quality of his performances. Last weekend, he had another chance in the starting-XI against Mainz and again didn’t make the most of it. I think, all in all, he’s only managed one shot on target at Leverkusen.
We’re quite surprised in Germany about the situation given how highly-rated he was by Bayern Munich. Hasan Salihamidži? internally called him a €100m man. They wanted him very much. The good news is they ended up with Jamal Musiala instead, which was a great story for them but not so much for Leverkusen.
At the moment, if he doesn’t improve the quality of his performances, it looks like he’ll be heading back to London. If you can’t play at Leverkusen, though, it’s getting hard at Chelsea.
? Tottenham interested in signing on-loan Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku this summer (Fichajes, via CaughtOffside)
Dortmund are out of the race for Elye Wahi, so the chances for the Premier League clubs are a little bit bigger. Dortmund always has a good argument up their sleeve of offering playing time and being good for development, so this argument is waved away. The English clubs can get in with money.
I think we need to keep a close eye on the player, as he seems a very interesting option. Perhaps he’s too interesting already now for Bundesliga clubs interested in buying him.
[Elye Wahi in action for Montpellier – (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP)]
? Should Tottenham replace Harry Kane with Elye Wahi if the Englishman leaves the club this summer? Let me know your thoughts below!
In Frankfurt, the feeling is that Daichi Kamada will leave in the summer but the fans are desperate to keep him.
In Germany, we have a Nobel Prize winner, Benjamin List, who won it for Chemistry. He’s a very big fan of Eintracht Frankfurt and Kamada, and he’s trying to convince him to stay. He’s already promised to give his Nobel medal to Kamada if he stays at Frankfurt! So, every German tries to keep him.
Dortmund could certainly throw a spanner in the works having identified Kamada as a potential replacement for Jude Bellingham. BVB are currently leading the race, with sporting director Sebastian Kehl holding a meeting with the player’s agents, Roberto Tukada and Thomas Kroth. The contract on the table is five years long and offers a salary worth €6m-a-year.
Fredi Bobic was the big favourite to replace former team manager Oliver Bierhoff at the DFB. However, since the ex-sporting director was released from his role at Hertha BSC, it’s gone a little quiet around Bobic and new names have come to the fore.
We’ve got the Euros in Germany in 2024, so we’ve got a temporary solution with Rudi Völler who’s the director of the German national team until the tournament. So we have time with the position we’re searching for. We need someone who can keep the rumours around the team quiet and that’s why Völler – everyone loves him in Germany – is the best man for the job.
But you also need someone for the future. They don’t want to decide now or today, but they are working on the process. It’s interesting for England because of the names on the list, who are world champions from 2014, one of them being Sami Khedira (who’s doing a job at Stuttgart) – I think he’s the favourite at the moment.
There’s another person you know very well in England: Per Mertesacker. He’s a man who could do that job, he has the experience from Arsenal.
The third one is Benedict Höwedes; he was completing an education as team manager at the DFB. I talked to him a few days ago when I met him and he’s concentrating on his family, so I think he’s out of the race.
The investment company 777 Partners is about to join Fredi Bobic’s former club Hertha BSC. The Americans want a 75% stake in Hertha BSC GmbH & Co. KGaA. They will receive a first tranche of €50m from 777 for the deal. It will still be difficult, however, for the investor to have a say in how the business is run.
I got a call a few weeks ago from an English agent who has a group that would like to invest in a Bundesliga club. I told him ‘I think you can, but you can’t have a decisive say [in light of the 50+1 rule – clubs and, by extension, the fans hold the majority voting rights]’. Who would invest in a club where you can’t have a decisive say?
In England that’s a big difference. It can be great if you look at how Manchester City are doing but then you also see what could happen at Manchester United.
I think Uli Hoeneß, who’s still on the board at Bayern Munich, would say that it would be great if the Bundesliga was able to invite more investors and were to change this rule so we have more competition for Bayern Munich. But, in the end, he can say this very easily because Bayern have its rules that it’s not allowed to do this for themselves.
I talked to Uli Hoeneß after a show we were both working on and asked him ‘could you imagine 20 years before, United was a big role model for Bayern Munich, that you will be lightyears away from them?’
He said ‘no, I never thought that’.
You see what happens with investors – it could be totally transformative. But then, as Chelsea have proven, money isn’t necessarily everything. Bayern Munich have the experience of football players on the board and you see how important it is. So you don’t often need so much money.
Markus Krösche is very important for Frankfurt. He’s the next man after Fredi Bobic left the club and no one’s really feeling the exit as things stand; everyone was talking about ‘Bobic, Bobic, Bobic’ but Krösche is doing a great job in the sporting director role.
It’s a long-term project normally but if Liverpool were interested – it would be hard to say no. I heard in the club that Krösche himself hasn’t informed any of the bosses or anyone else that there’s something concrete. It could be that he’s on the list at Liverpool because he’s a man everyone in European football will be looking at, as he comes from the Red Bull school.
He previously worked at Leipzig and left because of internal problems. It’s always the case that things can get difficult when you have your vision and somebody has a different one.
[Could Markus Krösche (top left) be Julian Ward’s replacement? – (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)]
I’m sure he’s interesting for Liverpool. I don’t think he’s doing everything to leave Frankfurt because it’s also an interesting project for him. But if Liverpool’s interest becomes concrete, I’m sure they’ll talk. But it’s not so concrete at the moment.
I do think from the profile that it would be a good fit. Jürgen Klopp would get a German guy; he’s young; played football (that’s not common); I think he understands football very well, so he could be a good sounding board for Klopp. Perhaps you’ll get the next German but it’s not concrete.
The Athletic wrote he’s on the list and I think Liverpool wouldn’t be doing a good job if he wasn’t on the list.
? Real Madrid may try to sign both Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland this summer (Stan Collymore, via CaughtOffside)
? Should Liverpool replace Julian Ward with Markus Krösche? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Fabrizio Romano’s column: I’m not aware of any contact between Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino. Chelsea were in contact with Pochettino last year when they sacked Thomas Tuchel, but i’m not aware of any fresh contact right now.
Pochettino wants to return to management and is open to all the options.
Pochettino has been unemployed since being sacked by PSG.
There’s a big question for RB Leipzig over their ability to get Jonathan David given the player won’t come cheap from Lille. They need a player like him, of course, and the interesting thing to note is that both Max Eberl and Marco Rose also wanted him before for Gladbach when they worked together.
They want him but they have to see if they have the money. I heard that the player is ready for the next step but then you have to pay up – I know Lille are looking for about €40-45m, so this could be a lot of money for Leipzig. But they need a player in his position.
Timo Werner is having a better time than he was at Chelsea but he’s not the same goal-getter he was in his first stint at Leipzig.
? RB Leipzig boss Marco Rose on Joško Gvardiol (via CaughtOffside): “Josko Gvardiol will be a RB Leipzig player next season. He is happy here.”
I can say for sure that Victor Osimhen was never on Bayern Munich’s list. It’s not just whether or not he fits within the structure, he’s too expensive; if Bayern can’t pay him, no other Bundesliga club can, which is very hard for Wolfsburg.
Most people don’t know that he played a very good U17 World Cup for his country, scoring 10 goals. Arsenal, Inter Milan and Fiorentina were interested but then he went to Wolfsburg, which was a big surprise, securing him in January 2017 for €3.5m but he didn’t perform well.
They sent him on loan to Charleroi, who then bought him for €3.5m. The rest of the story is that he went to Lille for €22m, then Napoli for €75m, and now Wolfsburg would no doubt love to have him back but he’s now in the hundreds of millions of euros.
They didn’t have the foresight at the time and now the Bundesliga is making big eyes and would love to have him back but now he’s lost forever.
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