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Ornstein exposes Bellingham to Real Madrid claims, with Man City, Liverpool not finished yet



Ornstein exposes Bellingham to Real Madrid claims, with Man City, Liverpool not finished yet

The ultra-reliable David Ornstein has weighed in on claims Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid is all but done, with the reporter revealing Man City in particular believe there’s more than meets the eye.

Spanish outlet Marca reported Real Madrid were on the cusp of finalising a move for Borussia Dortmund ace Jude Bellingham last week.

The 19-year-old is already one of world football’s premier midfielders and counted Liverpool, Man City and Real Madrid among his suitors.

Marca claimed Bellingham would accept a lower salary to join Real when compared with what he was being offered elsewhere. Fabrizio Romano added weigh to the story, noting negotiations between Real and Bellingham were reaching their “final stages”.

However, a fresh update from the Athletic’s David Ornstein has offered a ray of hope to those wishing to see Bellingham join Liverpool or Man City.

Firstly, Ornstein acknowledged Real have ‘taken pole position’ and rival clubs believe the Spanish side are Bellingham’s preference.

However, an anonymous Man City source told Ornstein there is a belief the reports out of Spain aren’t entirely above board.

It’s claimed people within City believe the Bellingham to Madrid claims to be nothing more than a ‘repeated tactic’ deployed by the Spanish press to unsettle City.

The reasoning would be to put them off their stride ahead of their Champions League semi-final clash against… Real Madrid.

Other instances of this tactic include the repeated links between Haaland and Real Madrid despite the Norwegian only signing for City last summer.

Elsewhere, Raheem Sterling was claimed to be ‘open’ to joining Real by the Spanish press back in February of 2020. Again, those reports surfaced ahead of a UCL clash between City and Real.

While it’s noted Real are indeed the favourites, Ornstein’s report suggests talk of Bellingham to Real being a virtual done deal may be premature.

City retain a ‘concrete interest’ in the player, though are yet to submit an offer or verbalise to Bellingham how much he’d be paid if moving to the Etihad.

Given City haven’t discussed numbers with the Englishman, weight is thus added to the claim Marca’s report is a little mischievous. Indeed, how would Marca know Real are offering a lower salary than City if City are yet to settle on a number?

Ornstein reiterated the reason Liverpool pulled the plug on their pursuit was down to the soaring cost of the move.

With Real’s move perhaps not as advanced as first thought, the door isn’t yet closed to the English sides.

Of course, a move to Anfield would require a U-turn from Liverpool who have already begun to accelerate other moves, most notably for Alexis Mac Allister.

As such, the main benefactor if Real aren’t able to close the deal looks destined to be Man City.

READ MORE: End of an era at Man City as West Ham prepare double raid and Barcelona accelerate moves for £80m pair


Big leaders, taking risks and finding consistency – Virgil van Dijk interview

Mohamed Salah’s 100th goal at Anfield – among other achievements – grabbed the headlines but Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk believes goalkeeper Alisson Becker is more than worthy of similar recognition.

Salah’s solitary strike secured a sixth successive Premier League victory to maintain the Reds’ unlikely push for the Champions League but the 1-0 win was only possible because Alisson brought up a century of clean sheets in the game.

In a disappointing season Alisson has been the club’s most consistent player, even taking into account Salah reaching 30 goals for the campaign for the fourth time in six years.

Van Dijk, who has not been immune from the struggles which have affected the whole side, recognises that.

“He’s an example for a lot of players, especially goalkeepers. I’m very glad that he’s my goalkeeper and we have been very successful,” said the Netherlands captain.

“Obviously on the pitch his qualities are there for everyone to see – his contribution, the saves, the leadership, that’s all very important – but away from the pitch is just as important, the qualities he has.

“He is a big, big leader in the group and someone a lot of players look up to.

“Obviously this (100 clean sheets) is for him a big moment and hopefully there are many more to come.”

Liverpool, who are in talks with former Wolfsburg sporting director Jorg Schmadtke to replace the departing Julian Ward, recorded back-to-back Premier League clean sheets for the first time in two months – when they had three in a row – and only the fifth occasion in the whole campaign.

Much of that poor record has been down to how the team defends and not Alisson’s performances, which have been generally better than the rest of the squad overall.

Van Dijk accepts those failings but believes they have finally started to iron out their issues.

“He is the one who has the highest risk factor in the team as well, if he makes a mistake then it’s a goal,” he added.

“It’s the whole doing it together type of feeling that we feel we have. That’s the basis.

“He would probably say that without the boys in front of him and the midfielders and strikers doing their work, this (100 clean sheets) would not be possible. Everyone is part of it, but he should definitely be proud of it.

“The last couple of games, the commitment we have shown and the reaction when we lost the ball is very important.

“It’s important to get the ball back, win challenges, and while there’s still room for improvement, winning six games in a row is something that has been unheard of this season.

“But let’s just keep going and enjoy the moment and take it into next season.”

Van Dijk could not, however, fail to recognise the enduring excellence of Salah, who has drawn level with Steven Gerrard as the club’s joint-fifth all-time goalscorer on 186.

It is the Egypt international’s relentlessness which sets him apart from most of his contemporaries, having been available for a remarkable 97 per cent of all Premier League and Champions League matches since he joined the club in 2017.

“He is doing it consistently, even when we are struggling he has still found a way to be important for the team,” said the Dutchman.

“Being consistent every three or four days, obviously you can have games where you don’t score but you can reach that level, and also staying fit that’s the most difficult thing to do.

“People don’t really speak about those kind of things too much, but maybe we should. On top of that, his numbers speak for themselves. In the world we live in nowadays, maybe the respect comes after he has stopped playing.

“But I don’t think he cares about that anyway. He just wants to keep doing what he’s doing and be important for the club. That’s the main thing.”

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Brentford’s bid for European football appears to be fading after just two wins in the last nine matches.

“You need to perform almost perfectly against these top-six sides,” said head coach Thomas Frank.

“We are definitely getting closer, we’ve shown that in the performances and the wins we’ve had so far this season, but you need to be almost perfect to get a point or to win and, unfortunately, we were not quite perfect, but we were close.”


Liverpool ‘remain keen on an unhappy Aurelien Tchouameni’

Liverpool could reignite their interest in Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni this summer, according to a report.

Liverpool could reportedly reignite their interest in Aurelien Tchouameni this summer, with the French midfielder ‘unhappy’ with his current situation at Real Madrid.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were heavily linked with the 23-year-old during last summer’s transfer window, but Real Madrid won the race to sign him in a big-money deal from Monaco.

Tchouameni has been a regular for Los Blancos during the 2022-23 campaign, featuring on 43 occasions in all competitions, contributing four assists in the process.

The France international has started six of his side’s last seven La Liga matches, but he has not been in the first XI for Los Blancos in the Champions League since the end of October.

Tchouameni only featured as a late substitute in the second leg of the last-16 European affair with Liverpool, before also being used off the bench in both legs of the quarter-final with Chelsea.

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The midfielder was substituted in Saturday night’s Copa del Rey final against Osasuna, meanwhile, during a period when Los Blancos were attempting to regain the lead.

Real Madrid are believed to be on the verge of securing a deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, while Eduardo Camavinga is viewed as a long-term option in the holding midfield position despite regularly playing as a left-back in recent months.

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, meanwhile, are preparing to sign new one-year contacts with Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who will welcome Manchester City to Bernabeu for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night.

Last month, it was claimed that a number of Premier League clubs were keeping an eye on Tchouameni’s situation amid suggestions that he could potentially become available for transfer.

According to The Mirror, Liverpool are preparing to sign two central midfielders during the summer market, and Tchouameni remains firmly on their radar.

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The report claims that Tchouameni is ‘unhappy’ with his current situation at Real Madrid and could potentially consider his future during the summer market.

At the end of April, Los Blancos boss Ancelotti said that the Frenchman still had a lot of work to do in order to become a top midfielder at the highest level.

“I think Tchouameni is an important player because covers our central defenders well, he’s good in the penalty area when the rivals enter,” Marca quoted the Italian as saying.

“However, with the ball he needs to improve, he’s very young and he’s learning. I told him not to move so much, because he has a lot of energy and sometimes he loses his position.”

Liverpool are still firmly in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League table, currently sitting one point behind fourth-placed Manchester United, although Erik ten Hag’s side have two games in hand.


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