- Reds have pursued the Dortmund star for years
- Club now accept a summer move is beyond them
- News will come as a major blow to supporters
WHAT HAPPENED? In a development which will come as a significant blow to Reds fans, who had been desperate to see the England star arrive on Merseyside, Liverpool have accepted that a move for the Borussia Dortmund will not be possible this summer, GOAL can confirm. The cost of such a deal - likely to be well in excess of £120 million ($149m) and the scale of the rebuild required at Anfield - means they will instead look to pursue an alternative recruitment strategy in the next transfer window. Klopp stated recently that he was "positive" over potential new signings, and that the club would "definitely" spend in the summer.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Liverpool had long been seen as one of the main contenders to land Bellingham and their withdrawal from the race now means Manchester City and Real Madrid are likely to battle it out for the 19-year-old, who has two years left on his Dortmund contract but who is expected to look to move clubs at the end of the season.
AND WHAT'S MORE: As for Liverpool, they are well aware of the need for a significant overhaul of their midfield options this summer, and with Champions League football unlikely next season, and Bellingham now seemingly a no-go, the Reds face a major challenge to bring in the kind of quality required to help the club bounce back from what has so far been an appalling campaign. They are keen to sign Chelsea's Mason Mount, while interest in Wolves' Matheus Nunes is understood to have cooled. Nicolo Barella of Inter Milan, Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich and Atalanta's Teun Koopmeiners are all admired, as is Luka Sucic of Salzburg.
Bellingham, though, has always been regarded as Liverpool's top target, and their failure to compete for his signature will inevitably lead to hefty criticism for owners Fenway Sports Group, while the club's overall recruitment strategy will also be questioned. Liverpool, remember, are also in need of a new sporting director, with current incumbent Julian Ward set to step down at the end of the season.
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WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? The Reds are not in Premier League action until Monday, when they travel to Leeds for an evening fixture.