It could’ve ended up being the transfer saga of the summer but it’s almost certain now that Jude Bellingham will leave Borussia Dortmund and sign for Real Madrid, rather than spending a few years at Liverpool which was part of his career plan.
According to Bundesliga expert and senior football journalist, Christian Falk, writing in his exclusive CaughtOffside Substack, there are two main reasons for that, one of which isn’t likely to please fans of the Anfield club.
The England international is still just 19 years of age and is sure to go on and have a stellar career, injuries notwithstanding. Likely a mainstay in Liverpool’s midfield if the club were able to close a deal, there has to be more than a tinge of disappoint from Jurgen Klopp and Co. that it’s not to be.
‘In the end, this saga is ending the way it had to. Liverpool don’t have the money for Jude Bellingham and Manchester City were never an option for the Dortmund player, so Real Madrid had a clear path,’ Falk wrote.
‘[…] I heard that Bellingham imagined playing for Liverpool for a few years before making the move to Real Madrid. That was the career plan but Liverpool didn’t have the money for this deal.’
Liverpool have shown over the past few seasons that they can work the transfer market well and they can’t really be blamed for not wanting to put all of their eggs in one basket.
After a below-par season by their standards, the Reds need to strengthen in a number of key areas and blowing a significant portion of their transfer budget on Bellingham just doesn’t make financial sense.
It isn’t only Liverpool’s unwillingness to pay the sizeable fee this summer that’s the issue, however.
‘Mark Bellingham, who manages his son’s career as director of his own company, ‘BelloBall LTD,’ definitely wants to finalise things this summer,’ Falk continued.
‘It concerns high commission payments and the background to this is FIFA’s new statute, which is due to come into force on October 1. It will mean that only licensed player agents can issue invoices and they would only receive a share of three percent commission from the club and three percent from the player, based on their salary. The FIFA decision also applies to family members.
‘In the case of a transfer after this summer, Mark Bellingham would either have to take the difficult license test or hire a licensed consultant, and the former is out of the question as he wasn’t registered for the spring course. In simple terms: Real Madrid have already budgeted an annual salary of €20m (€100m over a five-year contract) for Bellingham, and would have to pay €3m to the licensed consultant, of which only a small part, minus taxes and deductibles, goes to Mark Bellingham – and which in turn would have to be taxed.
‘According to the current rule, the commission is still at 10%, and would flow directly from the receiving club to Mark Bellingham and would only have to be taxed once. Neither Jude could wait for Liverpool in a sporting sense, nor it seems could his father Mark in a financial one.’
There are often a multitude of reasons why transfer deals collapse of course, but understanding that agent commission might be part of the reason that Bellingham didn’t get a dream switch to Anfield is likely to leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of all those that pay their hard-earned to follow Liverpool through thick and thin.