Chelsea join Liverpool and Man Utd in Jude Bellingham transfer battle | Football

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly

The west Londoners are already having to play catch-up (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea have belatedly joined the race to sign Jude Bellingham and have made him the number one transfer priority for their new sporting director, according to reports.

The Blues had a somewhat chaotic summer window after the departures of Marina Granovskaia, Bruce Buck and Petr Cech, with co-owner Todd Boehly taking up an interim sporting director role.

Things did not go entirely to plan, however, with Chelsea missing out on a number of top targets which contributed to a divide between the club’s ownership and Thomas Tuchel – who was sacked earlier this month.

They are now looking to bring in a new permanent sporting director to head up recruitment and transfer negotiations, though have again been thwarted in their search after being rejected by RB Salzburg’s Christoph Freund.

But whoever Chelsea eventually appoint, their first task will be to begin laying the groundwork for a club-record swoop for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.

According to The Times, the west London club have identified the England international as their top target for next summer as they look to rejuvenate an ageing midfield.

Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are 30 years old and 31 years old respectively, while both players are currently in the final year of their contracts and can leave on a free transfer next summer.

Chelsea join Jude Bellingham race

Bellingham is one of Europe’s most in-demand players (Picture: Getty)

Bellingham, who is just 19 years old, has already delivered consistently excellent performances in the Bundesliga and Champions League – as well as for England recently too – and could be a mainstay in Chelsea’s midfield for well over a decade.

Unfortunately for the Blues, they are far from the only club interested and everyone else has been given a significant head start to begin their charm offensives.

Liverpool have been front of the queue for some time and attempted to prise Bellingham away from Dortmund in the most recent transfer window, though the German club were adamant they would not sell two stars in the same summer after already selling Erling Haaland to Manchester City.

But Dortmund have always cashed in on their superstars and are willing to let Bellingham leave in a year’s time for a fee in the region of £130milion, with Real Madrid and Manchester United also keen on the teenager.

There is still time for Chelsea to catch up on the work that Liverpool have done on a proposed deal for Bellingham, but the Blues’ new sporting director will need to work quickly.

Should Chelsea miss out on the former Birmingham City midfielder they could turn once again to Declan Rice, who will have just two years left on his contract and may finally be prepared to make the step up to a Champions League-level club.

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