Jude Belliingham
Jude Bellingham is currently regarded as one of the best young players in the world Lars Baron/Getty Images

Whilst the club football season enters its climatic months of the season with plenty to play for on the pitch, clubs will also be gearing up for the always-anticipated summer transfer window.

Most summer transfer windows have a transfer saga surrounding a particular player that dominates the window, and this upcoming summer all eyes are set to be centred on Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham.

The 19-year-old English midfielder is regarded as one of the most talented players in the world and his ability is sure to only rise as he matures. His stock is already high having performed excellently for Dortmund in the Champions League and impressing for England at the last World Cup in Qatar.

Bellingham made his professional debut at just 16 years of age for Birmingham City and after one season joined Dortmund in 2020 for a transfer fee in the region of £25 million. Dortmund shrugged off competition from clubs such as Manchester United to get Bellingham's signature.

Jude Bellingham
Bellingham made his first-team debut for Birmingham City at the age of 16 Tim Easthope/Birmingham Mail

This senior experience that Bellingham has had from a very young age coupled with his excelling on the biggest stages demonstrates he has a level of maturity as a player well beyond his years. This makes him a highly desirable asset for all the big clubs in Europe as they will have a high-quality player for a lengthy period.

Bellingham operates as an all-action central midfielder who can operate at both ends of the pitch. He is also skilled in carrying the ball forward and joining in with the attack by contributing with goals and assists.

His tall build and physical qualities make him a dominating force in the midfield and allow him to excel with duties off the ball, winning aerial duels and regaining back possession. This is all the while being most importantly highly skilled technically with the ball at his feet and offering plenty when his team is in possession.

Jude Bellingham
Bellingham excelled for England at the last World Cup, scoring against Iran Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Bellingham's most-known suitors at this moment in time remain Liverpool with Real Madrid also thought to be sniffing for his signature. The links to Liverpool will not go away and they do appear in pole position for Bellingham but fellow Premier League clubs Manchester City and Manchester United may target a move for him this upcoming summer as well.

Liverpool have always stood out as the ideal destination for Bellingham as Jurgen Klopp's side revolves around having a highly energetic and combative midfield. The midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and former player Georginio Wijnaldum were instrumental in guiding Liverpool to winning the Premier League and Champions League.

Bellingham fits Klopp's philosophy as well as anyone, so the possibility of him working under the German would likely see his game develop further and become an even better midfield player.

However, this all would have been much more convenient in previous years as this season Liverpool have not been anywhere near good enough. They currently sit outside the top four in the Premier League and got knocked out of the Champions League in the Round-of-16 by Real Madrid, losing 6-2 on aggregate.

There is a sense that after the previous few years of winning and competing for major trophies, Liverpool's current side has come to the end of its cycle and is in need of a significant rebuild. This is especially for the midfield area as Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and James Milner are all over 30 with 29-year-old Fabinho's form also fading over time.

Fabinho and Jordan Henderson
Fabinho and Jordan Henderson were both instrumental in Liverpool's midfield in previous seasons John Powell/Liverpool FC/Getty Images

Also, the younger midfielders at the club including Harvey Elliot, Fabio Carvalho and Stefan Bajcetic cannot be relied upon at their ages to completely transform Liverpool's midfield. They should be looked at as complimentary pieces for now with experienced midfielders in front of them to learn from.

This makes the potential transfer of Bellingham slightly more complicated than if it has been done in recent years. Before Bellingham would have been comfortably able to slot into an already functioning midfield and ease into a midfield role at Liverpool, but now he would be regarded as a saviour.

Bellingham would have plenty of pressure on his shoulders to transform Liverpool's midfield back to the level of a few seasons ago and whilst he does possess plenty of quality, that still would be quite a lot to handle for a 19-year-old.

All successful midfield teams are built on various qualities that are shared across multiple players as they need one other to build on their strengths and make up for their deficiencies. If the likes of Henderson and Fabinho cannot cover the pitch like they used to, it makes it difficult for someone like Bellingham to receive the ball regularly and have the license to drive forward.

If Liverpool wants Bellingham to thrive at Anfield then they would need to make other major midfield singings to complement Bellingham's arrival. However, the likelihood of this is low considering Liverpool does not possess the financial strength of other big European clubs.

Also, there is doubt over Liverpool's ownership regime, which could affect transfer plans. Current owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) were willing to sell the club in recent months but now they have retracted that and do not plan to go ahead with a complete sale.

Dortmund are known for making sure they receive a large sum when selling their top talent, with Ousmane Dembele, Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Erling Haaland and Henrikh Mkhitaryan departing for large fees. With Bellingham, they are sure to demand another hefty fee and it is certain that will be around the £100 million mark.

Jude Bellingham
Dortmund will likely demand around £100 million for Bellingham Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund/Getty Images

If Liverpool need strengthening on multiple players, it may appear wise to not spend most if not all of their whole budget on Bellingham and risk holes being unaddressed in other areas of the team.

No Champions League football at Anfield is a real possibility next season and if Liverpool are not playing in the competition it may be challenging to tempt Bellingham to join. Not playing in club football's top competition may also have repercussions for Liverpool's overall budget this summer, so they may struggle to even afford Bellingham as a result.

One of the other clubs rumoured to be in for Bellingham is Real Madrid, who are known for luring the world's best players to the Spanish capital. Real Madrid have acquired some of the best British stars in recent times with Gareth Bale, David Beckham, Michael Owen and Steve McManaman, so Bellingham would be joining that list in taking his talents to the La Liga giants.

Real Madrid currently have plenty of quality in the midfield department, but they are going through somewhat of a transition in that area as Toni Kroos and Luka Modric may not be at the club much longer. This is in addition to Casemiro leaving the club last summer to join Man Utd.

The trio of Kroos, Modric and Casemiro will go down in history as one of if not the most successful midfield trios of all time. Their presence in midfield helped deliver three consecutive Champions League titles for Real Madrid from 2016 to 2018 and they each have five in total.

Unlike Liverpool, Real Madrid added to their midfield whilst their current starters were still on top with the signings of Eduardo Camavinga in 2021 and Aurelien Tchouameni last summer. They also have Federico Valverde in their midfield ranks, who is a pivotal player for them already at 24 years of age.

There would be real competition for places if Bellingham made the switch to Real Madrid, with the midfield quality already there. However, if both Modric and Kroos depart this summer, it leaves space for Bellingham to come in.

Even if just one of them left, there would be a pathway into the starting line-up for Bellingham as Camavinga and Tchouameni are still fairly young and do not have their places totally nailed down just yet.

Also, if Modric and Kroos remained at the club, it may actually benefit Bellingham as they would not be playing large numbers of minutes due to their age. Therefore, Bellingham would get plenty of playing time whilst also learning from some of the very best midfielders to ever play the game.

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos may be coming to the end of their stay at Real Madrid Angel Martinez/Real Madrid/Getty Images

Although Bellingham may decide he wants to play back home in England, after a few years of being abroad in Germany. That may give Liverpool a great chance of acquiring him and give encouragement to some of the other Premier League clubs of signing him.

Man City may be a smart option for Bellingham if they want him as the possession-based style they play with can be an ideal environment for a midfielder to develop in. Also, with Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan rumoured to be possibly leaving Man City this summer, it frees up space for a forward-thinking midfielder such as Bellingham to join.

Man Utd may also feel they have a real shot at landing Bellingham after being unsuccessful in 2020. The club is now appearing to head in the right direction under manager Erik ten Hag and with potential new ownership on the horizon, there could be large funds available for a big marquee signing such as Bellingham.

Bellingham is sure to have plenty of attractive options when he departs Dortmund, and there is a very good chance that occurs this summer. However, if Dortmund feel that no one is willing to pay what they deem an acceptable price for him, they may decide to keep him.

Dortmund have him contracted at the club until 2025 so there is a further chance to get money for him in the summer of 2024. However, the asking price would have to be reduced and they would likely not get near as much in return for Bellingham if they sell him this summer.

Bellingham may also feel that one more year in Germany will be beneficial for his career, but as a player who has developed so quickly before turning 20, he may feel he is already primed for the next step. Furthermore, once offers from the top clubs start coming in, it may be incredibly difficult for Bellingham to turn them down as these opportunities are what young players dream of.

He made the right decision to join Dortmund with their impressive track record of developing young talent, so it is clear he has the right mindset and entourage of people alongside him to make his next important decision. This is important for young players as sometimes they can make misguided decisions and not have people with the right sort of interests around them.

Bellingham must make sure he is deployed in a quality team that plays to his strengths where he can be adventurous with the ball and make an impact in the final third. If everything plays out this way, then his next club and England will have a phenomenal player on their hands for years to come.