Liverpool Football Club has reportedly made Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount their top priority signing this summer, after ending their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. The Reds had been targeting the 19-year-old for the past year, but with a package to sign him now costing around £130m, Liverpool have cooled their interest in the teenager. The club’s need for at least two midfielders this summer has also played a part in their decision to look elsewhere.
Mount, who is valued at around £70m by Chelsea, has rejected two contract proposals from the London club and is now expected to leave Stamford Bridge. Jurgen Klopp is said to be a huge admirer of the England international, who has lost his starting spot in recent months. Mount is reportedly keen on a move to Anfield and could be available for around half of what it would cost to sign Bellingham.
Liverpool’s domestic season has made them outsiders for Bellingham, with the club currently struggling to secure a top-four finish. Signing the teenager would use most of Liverpool’s budget, leaving little room for other signings. The Reds will therefore target cheaper options this summer, with Mount now their priority target.
Mount’s potential arrival at Anfield would provide Klopp with a versatile midfielder who can play in a number of positions. The 22-year-old has been used in a variety of roles by Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, including as a central midfielder, attacking midfielder and even as a false nine. Mount’s work rate, technical ability and eye for goal make him an attractive proposition for Liverpool.
While Liverpool’s interest in Bellingham may have cooled, the teenager remains one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe. The midfielder has been a key player for Dortmund this season, helping the German side reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Bellingham’s performances have also earned him a call-up to the England national team, where he has impressed in his first few appearances.
Liverpool’s decision to target Mount over Bellingham is a sign of the club’s financial situation. The Reds have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the club posting a pre-tax loss of £46m for the year ending May 2020. The loss was largely due to a drop in revenue from matchday and broadcasting income, with the pandemic forcing games to be played behind closed doors.
Despite the financial challenges, Liverpool remain one of the biggest clubs in world football and are expected to be active in the transfer market this summer. The club has already been linked with a number of other midfielders, including Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.
Liverpool’s priority this summer will be to strengthen their midfield, with the club lacking depth in that area. The Reds have relied heavily on their first-choice midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara this season, with injuries and poor form affecting other players. Klopp will be hoping to add more quality and depth to his midfield options ahead of next season.
In addition to midfielders, Liverpool are also expected to be in the market for a new centre-back and a forward this summer. The club has struggled with injuries in both positions this season, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez missing most of the campaign through injury. The Reds have also been without key forward Diogo Jota for long periods due to injury.
Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing season next year, with the club looking to challenge for major honours once again. The Reds won the Premier League title last season but have struggled to replicate that form this year. Klopp will be looking to strengthen his squad this summer and build a team capable of competing at the highest level once again.