Chelsea ready to enter £130m race for Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham - Chelsea ready to enter £130m race for Jude Bellingham to rival Liverpool and Real Madrid - PA
Jude Bellingham - Chelsea ready to enter £130m race for Jude Bellingham to rival Liverpool and Real Madrid - PA

Chelsea are desperately trying to play catch up in the race to try to sign England star Jude Bellingham next summer.

Telegraph Sport understands that the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership have already attempted to make inroads into the Bellingham camp, despite being told that Real Madrid and Liverpool are ahead of them.

Co-controlling owner and interim sporting director Boehly still believes that Chelsea have enough time to make a serious play for Bellingham and has not been put off by warnings that Real Madrid and Liverpool have been working on a potential deal for months.

Bellingham is quickly becoming the hottest young property in world football with Borussia Dortmund likely to have to cash in on the £130 million-rated midfielder at the end of this season.

That has already started a race between clubs to try to get into pole position for Bellingham, with Chelsea under the impression that Real Madrid and Liverpool are leading the way.

But that has not deterred Chelsea’s new owners trying to gatecrash the race for Bellingham and attempting to muscle their way alongside Madrid and Liverpool at the front of the queue.

Still currently without a permanent sporting director, Boehly is believed to have taken it on his own shoulders to make enquiries over Bellingham and foster what he hopes could be key relationships.

Madrid and Liverpool have already spent months doing that, while there also remains a fear that Manchester City will seriously turn their attention towards Bellingham given his excellent performances for Dortmund and England.

Chelsea’s new owners spent almost £300 million during their first transfer window since taking over the club from Roman Abramovich, but Boehly and Co are already preparing to splash more cash in the future with midfield one of the priority positions.

Preliminary talks have been held over trying to extend N’Golo Kanté’s contract, which expires at the end of the season, while the club are also debating whether or not to offer Jorginho, who is in the same situation, a new deal.

But, regardless of the futures of Kanté and Jorginho, Chelsea are planning to try to sign at least one young, top-class midfielder next summer with Declan Rice also still on the club’s radar.

Chelsea’s owners were warned off making a bid for Rice by West Ham United in this summer’s transfer window, but may well test the resolve of their London rivals next summer.

Other than trying to jump up the queue of clubs chasing Bellingham and maintaining an interest in Rice, Chelsea are watching RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku this season and will assess whether or not the club needs to sign a new goalkeeper.

Edouard Mendy is yet to sign a new contract, having turned down at least one offer, and his downturn in form ahead of Graham Potter’s arrival as head coach raised question marks over whether or not Chelsea should be considering their options.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was made available last summer but could not secure a move and Mendy’s questionable footwork and distribution could become an even greater issue under the style of Potter, who will take charge of his first Chelsea game in the Premier League against Crystal Palace on Saturday.