Christian Falk’s Fact Files – Truth about Jude Bellingham talks, Liverpool’s Gravenberch interest, Cancelo’s difficult situation & more

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Jude Bellingham

Yes, Jude Bellingham’s father is speaking to Real Madrid and yes, he has met with the Spanish outfit.

This hasn’t just taken place in London, as has been reported, but also the week before in the Spanish capital. But the important thing is that Jude himself has not yet made a decision and there’s still yet to be talks with Dortmund.

Liverpool are still in the running, though it’s important to note that if Real are serious and the Reds aren’t ready to make a good offer soon, it will become an increasingly difficult situation for the latter. Jürgen Klopp has already admitted to himself: When it comes to money, Jude doesn’t stand a chance. That all being said, Bellingham isn’t motivated solely by money.

💬 Who should Liverpool sign if they miss out on Jude Bellingham? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ultimately, it’s a bit of a bitter situation for Borussia Dortmund; the German outfit can’t keep up either in terms of sporting or monetary offerings with Real and Liverpool. The missed quarter-final bonus of €10.6m, if they had managed to progress past Chelsea, could still have unpleasant consequences – Dortmund could have used the money for the Bellingham poker game.

With this extra cash, it would have been easier for BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke and the club’s sports director, Sebastian Kehl, to be able to keep their superstar prodigy beyond the summer with a lavish wage increase – the club was thinking of giving Bellingham a salary of €15m a year. This prospective deal is now looking a challenge to arrange, as he currently already earns around €6m in Dortmund.


I’ve today (Friday) been in Leverkusen to meet Rudi Völler and Florian Wirtz, who is a target of many clubs in Europe, but has decided to stay in Leverkusen minimum til 2024 for the European Championship. When I entered the lift in Leverkusen’s Club Center, Simon Rolfes, Leverkusen’s sporting director, was already in. He told me that he saw the many rumours about Premier League interest in six players of his, several of which I wrote about in my last column. He joked that he now has a lot of work to do because of that. One player in this column was: Moussa Diaby.

Arsenal still have an interest in Diaby. The Bayer Leverkusen star’s agents are in contact with the club. However, it’s worth noting that the Gunners are also interested in Dortmund’s Julian Brandt. The club has yet to make a final decision on that front.

[Moussa Diaby in action for Bayer Leverkusen – (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)]

Fabrizio Romano’s Column: “I still believe that Arsenal want a new midfielder in the summer to help Mikel Arteta if they find the right opportunity, but Jorginho is a permanent signing and they’re convinced it was an excellent deal.”


Bayern Munich

About four weeks ago, Alphonso Davies’ agent, Nick Huoseh, was a guest at FC Bayern’s base, Säbener Straße. Bayern wants to extend the Canadian’s terms as soon as possible, as his current contract runs out in 2025. He currently earns around €9m but now it’s time to talk about money, as Davies would like to move up to the next pay grade and extend his stay in Bavaria.

An extension for Lucas Hernández is as good as decided. Hasan Salihamidžić started the talks before the World Cup and now they’re working out the details. Expect the Frenchman to stay in Munich.

Rumours of Liverpool’s interest in Ryan Gravenberch keep on coming, much to the annoyance of bosses at FC Bayern. It does raise questions for the player’s agents in terms of whether they want to put pressure on the club due to their client’s lack of game time. With that in mind, Salihamidžić has made the decision to declare that Gravenberch is not for sale this summer!

Rumours of Bayern’s interest in Gonçalo Ramos are completely wide of the mark. FC Bayern are just interested in one striker, if he happens to be on the market this summer: Harry Kane.

Bayern bosses are increasingly doubtful of the prospect of Kane wanting to leave England; they feel he wants to remain in the Premier League. FC Bayern fears his love of home more than any offer from Manchester United – that’s why the club hasn’t contacted the Tottenham star’s management for months. Bayern had lodged its interest with the relevant agents in 2022 and now they’re waiting to see if Kane sends a signal back. So far that hasn’t happened. The longer this situation drags on, we can see officials at Bayern slowly losing their faith in the striker departing the U.K at the end of the season.

The situation is looking difficult for João Cancelo. Recently, his colleagues can see how frustrated he is in training and he’s isolated himself a bit. Hasan Salihamidžić then stepped in to have a conversation and provide some hope to the player that he would be increasingly involved against more defensive teams in the future. But the process takes time. If he still doesn’t play in the Champions League quarter-finals, it’s unlikely that there’ll be a future for Cancelo beyond his current loan deal.


📰 Todd Boehly preparing big-money move for one Newcastle United star (The Telegraph via CaughtOffside)


Eintracht Frankfurt are still looking for a centre-back. Now the club has a new name on the list: Konstantinos Mavropanos from Stuttgart. Eintracht has a good chance of pulling this deal off.

In winter, a bid of €15m from Inter Milan was not enough. Also, Atletico Madrid are interested. Eintracht’s hope is that, if Stuttgart goes down in Bundesliga 2, he could get cheaper.


It’s true. After the disappointment of the World Cup, Ilkay Gündogan considered whether he wanted to continue playing for Germany. Now he has made a decision to commit to the national team. He held talks with national coach Hansi Flick and the latter’s happy for him to continue.

[Ilkay Gündogan’s (right) current contract expires in 2023 – (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)]

His club future, on the other hand, is open. La Liga’s announcement that Barcelona will have to cut their players’ salaries makes this option difficult. Juventus are also interested but Gündogan would prefer to stay at Manchester City. So the poker game with his employer continues.

💬 Should Manchester City extend Ilkay Gündogan’s contract? Share your thoughts below!

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RB Leipzig

Manchester City are not the favourites, but of course, Pep Guardiola’s men have a good chance when it comes to the race for Joško Gvardiol. That being said, one can’t ignore Chelsea either.

Both clubs have the advantage over Liverpool and Tottenham, ultimately because the side that offers €100m in the summer will have the best chance of getting Gvardiol and, as many are more than aware, City and Chelsea have the money to fund such a deal.

The important thing to note is that Gvardiol wants to leave in the summer if an opportunity in the Premier League arises. It doesn’t matter that his release clause (€112m) is only valid in 2024. Put simply, the Croatian won’t accept Leipzig stopping his potential exit should an offer of €100m come through the door. He wants to go to the Premier League, preferably this summer rather than the next, despite signing a new contract until 2027.


Robin Koch has a problem. The German national team coach, Hansi Flick, did not take him to the World Cup. He knows that he can build his international profile by joining a club that plays in Europe.

Newcastle are interested, and if the club secures some European football next term that would hugely encourage Koch to consider a transfer to Eddie Howe’s outfit.

Being a part of the national side is incredibly important to him. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that playing in the Bundesliga, too, would grant him more attention in Germany. Therefore, a summer transfer shouldn’t be considered unlikely.

West Ham

📰 West Ham willing to submit loan-to-buy bid for Manchester United’s Harry Maguire (TeamTalk via CaughtOffside)

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