It’s no secret that Real Madrid are desperate to sign Jude Bellingham, with president Florentino Perez very keen to secure the long-term signing of the talented English midfielder.
However, there are a couple of obstacles standing in Real Madrid’s way. Bellingham is undoubtedly one of the best young players in the world, and he has proven himself to be so since his move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020. Furthermore, he had an outstanding World Cup, producing a string of fantastic performances for the Three Lions, despite their quarterfinal exit to France.
Bellingham’s displays in Qatar elevated his ability in the eyes of many, and drew interest in his services. Although teams, including Real Madrid, were keen on Bellingham before the World Cup, his showings have made clubs desperate for his signature. Liverpool appear to be Real Madrid’s biggest competitors, but Manchester City are not far behind the leading pair.
With three of Europe’s biggest teams interested in Bellingham, it is natural that Dortmund’s asking price will be increased. However, it appears that Bellingham will cost no less than €110m, and with City reportedly willing up offer up to €170m, Real Madrid may be priced out of a move for their top transfer target. Los Blancos would love to get Bellingham, but there is no guarantee that he will join. So what’s their backup plan?
There are options available to Real Madrid if they choose to seek alternatives. One man that had been linked is Declan Rice, who is an international teammate of Bellingham, but it appears that he will join Arsenal in the summer instead.
A lower cost option could be N’Golo Kante, who has been linked with El Clasico rivals Barcelona for much of the season. Kante was one of the best midfielders in the world during his early years at Chelsea, but injuries have had a big impact and the Frenchman hasn’t been the same player since. However, he could be a solid option for Real Madrid, especially as a free signing with his contract at the Premier League club expiring in the summer. Fichajes state that they are looking at him.
Although Kante would be a low cost signing in terms of fee paid, he would likely be on high wages. Furthermore, he won’t be someone that is around the first team for many years, as he turns 32 in March. For Real Madrid, he is unlikely to be an option that is given much consideration.
Real Madrid typically target young players have can be developed at the club for many years, even if their transfer fee is expensive. One player that falls into this category is Martin Zubimendi, who is another player that has been linked with Barca. Aged just 23, Zubimendi’s best years are ahead of him, and he already has shown himself to be a quality player for Real Sociedad.
He fits the mould for a Los Blancos player, and with a €60m release clause at La Real, he would likely cost half of what Bellingham would be. It would also allow Aurelien Tchouameni to move further forward in the midfield three, which could free up the Frenchman’s game more.
Arsenal are very interested in Zubimendi, and are likely to make a summer move for the midfielder, so Real Madrid would likely need to compete for him too. However, they should be confident of enticing him to join them over the Premier League side.
Bellingham will remain Real Madrid’s ideal signing, but other options must be considered by club officials. There will be players out there that will fit the bill for Perez and Ancelotti, but the price has to be right.