Real Madrid will offer Jude Bellingham the chance to come and be the new Luka Modric next summer, but fear the England international is leaning towards Liverpool over a switch to LaLiga.
Madrid have abandoned their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe after he made fools of them last summer running down his Paris Saint-Germain contract, only to re-sign with the French club for an eye-watering £156million signing-on fee plus £650,000-a-week in wages.
Now they have turned their attention to the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder, and his stellar performances in the Champions League this season have heightened the club’s interest.
When his name was first leaked as a potential signing, there was an underwhelmed response from supporters disappointed by the failure to bring Kylian Mbappe after so many weeks of being told his arrival was a formality once the French season ended.
But Bellingham’s performances in Europe have changed that, and the idea of a midfield quartet including Bellingham, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelian Tchouameni aged 19, 24, 19 and 22 respectively is the club’s plan for next summer.
Madrid have a good relationship with Borussia Dortmund and believe the club will sell to them if they match any Premier League bid, but convincing the player could be more difficult with Cadena Ser reporting earlier this month that he prefers Liverpool.
A guaranteed starting berth in a new-look midfield could be the key for Madrid and, just as they sold Casemiro no sooner had Tchouameni arrived, the possibility of finally saying goodbye to Modric could be used to persuade him.
Modric is 37 and is on a rolling contract renewed at the end of every season.
The arrival of Bellingham would likely coincide with the departure of the player commonly recognised as the greatest midfielder in Real Madrid’s history.
But the club’s chief fixer Juni Calafati knows he has his work cut out ensuring Bellingham picks Madrid over a return to England.