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Jude Bellingham transfer: Where will Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder fit in at Real Madrid?

Jude Bellingham has left Borussia Dortmund to join Real Madrid for an initial £88.5m; Carlo Ancelotti's side already have Luka Modric, Fede Valverde, Toni Kroos and Aurelien Tchouameni among their midfield options

Credit - AP Photo/Getty

When Jude Bellingham was at the peak of his powers during the World Cup with England, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti had his say on where he ranks as one of the best young midfielders in the world.

"Bellingham is one of them," the Italian said. "But I'll stick with my midfielders, who are very good - especially the youngsters."

It was a reminder, despite Bellingham being one of the most sought-after midfielders ahead of this summer transfer window, that Real Madrid are a club with plenty of pedigree in that position.

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The Spanish club are blessed with a wide range of young midfielders. Last year, Aurelien Tchouameni, 23, signed a six-year deal after joining for £68m from Monaco; Eduardo Camavinga, 20, arrived 12 months earlier for a £35m fee from Rennes; while Federico Valverde, 24, is closing in on 200 appearances for the club.

Add in Luka Modric, 37, and Toni Kroos, 33 - who despite having a combined age of 70 are still vital to this Real side -and they have the perfect blend of youth and experience in midfield.

Bellingham, however, has now been added to that enviable group after Real struck a deal with Borussia Dortmund worth an initial £88.5m, with add-ons potentially taking the fee to £115m.

The 19-year-old moved to Germany from boyhood club Birmingham in 2020 but has long dreamt of joining the LaLiga giants.

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Why Bellingham deal makes sense

So where does Bellingham fit in? Is he even guaranteed a place in the Real starting line-up?

"I do think it's a good fit for him," LaLigaTV presenter Semra Hunter told Sky Sports News. "But whether he walks into the team? No, I don't think that's the case."

After all, Kroos and Modric still play for Real in the biggest games, including their recent Champions League triumphs, alongside Valverde in midfield. Both Kroos and Modric are still set to be around next season, and if Ancelotti remains as Real manager for then a widespread change in midfield is going to take some doing.

Bellingham will have the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to compete with at Real
Image: Bellingham will have Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to compete with at Real

Speaking earlier in the season about how Kroos, Modric and striker Karim Benzema - who has since moved to Saudi Arabia - continued to thrive at Real Madrid, Ancelotti said: "People might think they don't have as much energy as the youngsters but the way these three manage the games is unique, it's priceless and you can't buy it in the whole international market.

"They have something only experience can give you. Yes, being older takes some things away from you but it gives you some other things too."

In fact, it is difficult to see any of the Real midfield leaving the club even after Bellingham's arrival.

"There will be, in the short-term, stiff competition in the midfield for Bellingham," said Hunter. "But that being said, Kroos does not have a long-term replacement in the side and Bellingham is probably the closest thing to a long-term replacement for the German."

There are two things that 19-year-old Bellingham has over the Real midfielders - age and his own skillset.

"So there will be rotations and there will certainly be some midfield over-booking in the short-term," adds Hunter.

"But in the long run, Bellingham certainly will have a lot of opportunities to play, to become a regular fixture and starter.

"It's a brilliant place for him to continue developing his game. He's in the mould of what Real are after: snapping up young talent at around 18, 19 and 20 years of age and continuing to develop them for the long-term and have them for 10 to 15 years."

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Jason Burt from The Telegraph and David Ornstein from The Athletic discuss Jude Bellingham's transfer to Real Madrid

And, of course, Bellingham brings a style of play that the other Real midfielders do not.

All of the Real options had better passing and chance creation stats than Bellingham this season, owing to the fact that the LaLiga side held more of the ball than Dortmund. That is also why Bellingham's defensive and pressing stats ranked higher than any Real midfielder.

But even with less of the ball, Bellingham impressed in attacking areas. The England international completed more take-ons, through balls and shots than any Real midfielder, which shows he is more of an attacking option compared to what Ancelotti already has.


Whether Bellingham would be valued higher - or be potentially better off - heading to the Premier League to continue his football journey, only time will tell.

But the teenager has shown in recent years that he does not need his native country to grow his stock. And clubs do not come much grander than Real.

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