Chelsea (opens in new tab)'s hopes of signing Jude Bellingham may have taken a major hit, with Real Madrid (opens in new tab) reportedly ready to meet Borussia Dortmund (opens in new tab)'s asking price of almost £90m.
The Blues continue to be linked with Bellingham, 19, who's also said to be of interest to Liverpool (opens in new tab) and Manchester City (opens in new tab). One club who won't be making a move, though, are Bayern Munich (opens in new tab), whose CEO Oliver Kahn ruled them out of the race for the England (opens in new tab) midfielder earlier this week.
But Real would appear to be leading that race. According to MARCA (opens in new tab), the Spanish giants have been discussing a deal for the past 12 months.
The report adds that Bellingham's €100m (£87.9m) valuation is in Real's price range (that's hardly a surprise, is it?) and that talks have 'moved on to the stage of talking numbers'.
Bellingham joined Dortmund from boyhood club Birmingham City (opens in new tab) in July 2020 at the age of 17, for a reported initial fee of £22.75m (opens in new tab). He recently passes 100 appearances for the Black and Yellows, for whom he's scored 14 goals.
Last weekend's Bundesliga defeat to Koln saw Bellingham captain Dortmund for the first time, an experience he described (opens in new tab) as "a dream come true".
He also wore the armband in Wednesday's 4-1 Champions League win at Sevilla (opens in new tab) (during which he scored his side's second goal), becoming the youngest English player to start a Champions League game as skipper.
Next up for Bellingham and Dortmund is the small matter of Saturday's Der Klassiker at home to Bayern.
That's BVB's first of 10 matches between now and the World Cup, where, assuming he stays fit, Bellingham looks set to start – and star – for Gareth Southgate's Three Lions.
More Chelsea stories
Could Bellingham's England midfielder partner be on his way to Stamford Bridge next year? Chelsea are said to have made long-term target Declan Rice their top transfer target for 2023 (opens in new tab).
Meanwhile, it's been reported that the Blues at the front of the queue to sign AC Milan and Portugal forward Rafael Leao (opens in new tab) and that they've already made an acceptable offer to RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku (opens in new tab).
In other news, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has described how he's found it "strange" not to be playing under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea – after the German was sacked last month (opens in new tab).
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