Guardiola to get priority midfield transfer backing as Bellingham eyed

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Manchester City will back Pep Guardiola with the funds to sign a top midfielder next summer but fear the pulling power of Real Madrid and Liverpool, according to reports. England starlet Jude Bellingham has been earmarked as a key target by the reigning Premier League champions. 

Guardiola has extended his stay at the Etihad Stadium, penning a new deal until 2025. His current contract had been due to expire at the end of this season. 

In a cunning new battleplan, City bosses are now prepared to inject Guardiola’s squad with fresh talent to maintain the club’s stronghold on the Premier League. A new midfielder is seen as being key to staving off domestic competition from Liverpool and Arsenal, while improving City’s Champions League hopes. 

Borussia Dortmund sensation Bellingham will be targeted next summer. City believe they can enter the hotly-contested race to sign the 19-year-old at the end of the season. 

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However, the Etihad Stadium hierarchy fear the pulling power of Real Madrid and Liverpool, the Daily Mail claims. Madrid lead Barcelona in trying to lure Bellingham to Spain, while Liverpool have done most of the background work of all the English clubs. 

Los Blancos would need to sell one of their non-EU players as they already have the La Liga limit of four. Bellingham also idolises former Reds captain Steven Gerrard.

It comes after Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed that the Bundesliga side with discuss Bellingham’s future with the player and his representatives after the World Cup. “I think as soon as Qatar is over, we’re going to have a basic conversation about what he actually wants. With him, with his parents, with whom we have a very close relationship, and of course with his advisor,” he said. 

“And then he should just tell us whether he wants to stay or whether he wants to go. Either way, we’ll discuss it pleasantly and reasonably.

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“But we don’t have to pretend that the topic isn’t on the table. When the really big ones are there, we can’t afford to fight financially either. Jude is a wonderful boy who also has his fluctuations – we’ve seen that now but he is certainly one of the greatest talents in European football.”

Bellingham scored his first England goal in Monday’s 6-2 thrashing of Iran. His header opened the scoring and the teenager looked at home in midfield. 

“I told you I was saving that goal,” he told the BBC afterwards. “To be honest, I thought I had missed. It took ages to loop into the goal.

“I said I wanted to score more goals for Dortmund and England this year and to get in the right positions. It was a brilliant ball in from Luke Shaw and I was just there to flick it away. It’s a really proud moment for me.”

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