Agent’s column: EPL side have bid for Bellingham, Newcastle want Liverpool defender, Levy has clear managerial favourite and why Saka’s talks with Arsenal have stalled

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In his fifth exclusive column for Caughtoffside, British agent Haydn Dodge discusses which manager is most likely to succeed the recently dismissed Antonio Conte permanently at Spurs, which club has offered £100m for Jude Bellingham and why Bukayo Saka’s contract extension talks with Arsenal have stalled, plus much more…


One manager is the clear favourite at Spurs…

The ongoing saga at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which for a lot of Spurs fans, was an extremely long week, finally drew to a close on Sunday as Antonio Conte’s position became untenable.

With big characters in the dressing room and the transfer saga due to commence over Harry Kane in the coming weeks it was the right time to make a change. It is clear to me that Mauricio Pochettino may not be the first choice in Daniel Levy’s eyes, especially as he isn’t the biggest fan of admitting mistakes, but then again who is?

Julian Nagelsmann has seemed to be made a clear favourite and target for ENIC, which would obviously come with payments to Bayern Munich for an appointment before the summer. It confuses me how Bayern have let him go, but shows the elite mentality of clubs not sitting at the top of every tree possible despite only being a point behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, still in the cup competitions and Champions League quarter-finals.

READ MORE: Exclusive: Fabrizio Romano confirms four clubs want Liverpool ace but Newcastle have another transfer priority

It is also clear to see that the decision to appoint Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason until the end of the season suggests there is a lack of planning. The club must not wish to reappoint Pochettino because even though he is currently out of work and available, they have not acted. The suggestion of a return for the Argentine seems to be just an idea the Spurs board flirt with but never follow through on. Similar to their poor recruitment and impulse decisions, which they continue to do, instead of sustaining the longer-term success of the football club by winning trophies year in and year out.

Arsenal have reached stalemate in Bukayo Saka’s contract talks…

Bukayo Saka is getting close to signing a new contract with Arsenal. The hold-up at the moment is to do with a previous release clause being renegotiated between club and the player’s representatives.

The word in the industry is that Arsenal want to insert a £120m clause, which is understandable, especially considering he has just 12 months left on his deal, and is arguably the hottest prospect, not only in England but also in European football.

Liverpool are going all out for Jude Bellingham…

It’s known that a bid just shy of £100m has been submitted for Jude Bellingham ahead of this summer’s transfer window. A revamp in the middle of the park is exactly what Liverpool, their fans and Jurgen Klopp need so it is not surprising to see them going all out for Bellingham.

It also seems to be interesting that Declan Rice and Mason Mount are being mentioned, with the latter choosing to be represented by Virgil Van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliot’s agents. I’m sure Chelsea will have something to say about it but Mount will be highly sought after as the consistency of the Chelsea team and the midfielder’s game time come into question.

Another player to throw into the mix with regards to the central midfield role at Anfield is the price tag being placed on Moses Caicedo’s head at Brighton despite the player signing a new deal. It would be interesting to note whether or not a record release clause has been entered into the contract to enhance his value.

Lastly, in terms of outgoings at Liverpool, it’s quite well known that Newcastle United have long admired defender Joe Gomez as they look to bolster their centre-half options ahead of several players being out of contract this summer.

EPL clubs won’t like the new World Cup format…

The news breaking over the weekend regarding the World Cup in 2026 smells of more controversy, especially after the damaging documentary released on the conspiracies and bribing that has been happening in the governing body for years.

It doesn’t surprise me that the negotiations and agreements on this “landmark” have been led by PSG’s Qatari group head, Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

FIFA’s compensation is to be paid to clubs who release players for the men’s World Cup and has been increased by nearly 70% to £335m for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments. This for me is a fallback to the controversial news surrounding the 32-team Club World Cup to also be played every four years from June 2025, meaning even more games in a regular season.

My view is that the Premier League clubs will be most aggrieved, especially as they hold weight around Europe as one of the most competitive so their players will always feel the negatives towards larger tournaments and more games.

More Stories Antonio Conte Haydn Dodge Joe Gomez Jude Bellingham Julian Nagelsmann Mason Mount Mauricio Pochettino