Jude Bellingham has emerged as one of the brightest midfielders not just in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund, but across the entire European continent after the England international midfielder rose to prominence at the Westfalenstadion in the wake of his arrival from Birmingham City in 2020.
Since then, the Stourbridge native was developed into an elite-level midfielder who is now a key cog in the wheel in the Ruhr Valley, regardless of whichever manager he has plied his trade under.
But the question surrounding the 19-year-old wunderkind was always going to be what club he will make the jump to when - not if - he inevitably leaves Dortmund, and that debate has now been bolstered by the question of what the future holds for Bellingham in the England fold under manager Gareth Southgate as the Three Lions are set to clash with Italy and Germany in the UEFA Nations League just two months before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
In a debate fueled by The Athletic, a podcast discussion panel featuring Mark Chapman, Raphael Honigstein, Jack Pitt-Brooke, and James Pearce has posed the topic of whether or not long-standing interest from Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool will come to fruition regarding if Bellingham will rock up at Anfield for his next port of call.
Given the Reds’ questionable start to the campaign featuring what appear to be signs of aging and a lack of evolution on the pitch, other alternatives could now be considered more appropriately for Bellingham, including Manchester United under Erik ten Hag, Manchester City, or Real Madrid.
Certainly, Madrid has shown itself willing to move into the next generation after putting faith in both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni in the last two summers in order to plan for the future, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that Bellingham could be the final piece of a midfield revamp to move past the highly-successful central triumvirate of Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.
As for United and City, both clubs will undoubtedly need to consider central options moving forward - particularly United - but in the case of the Red Devils, a lack of Champions League football could shoot them in the foot while City may be seen as an option that could not guarantee enough time on the pitch for the England international.
And speaking of England, further questions about Bellingham’s future extend on the international scene on the back of Southgate’s latest England squad offering yet another example of the nation’s top boss putting faith in his trusted NCOs on the pitch rather than more talented players he can call upon during tournament play.
There are few that can say that Bellingham should not be starting for England by now, yet still, it is likely that he will take a back seat in Qatar for others that Southgate trusted at the 2016 World Cup and *Euro 2020.
Should he see little time this winter, either in the starting XI or in appearances off the bench, in an England tactical setup hardly suited to his strengths, it could be a frustrating potential proving ground for a player that could be on the precipice of exploring on to the global stage and in that light, the potential next stop of his career could be influenced all the same.