Earlier this week, Empire of the Kop were fortunate enough to speak exclusively with Christian Falk and he gave us the lowdown on Liverpool’s pursuit of Jude Bellingham, the possible fee and wages involved for the player and updates on our hunt for a new Sporting Director – plus any other possible transfer targets.
You can read the full transcript of our interview below and watch the full video at the end of the article:
What has convinced Jude Bellingham about Liverpool being the best move currently?
“There were many talks with his father, Mark, and his mother, Denise, also he agent Mark Bennett was involved.
“There were many points, one is that I think it was always his plan to get back to the Premier League, going to Germany is a step that many young English players take – [Jadon] Sancho did that at Dortmund and Bellingham saw that, it was a good move but now they need to see where the best club is for him to perform.
“At Liverpool, you have Henderson, you have Milner and they have a special age – Thiago is often injured and that’s not nice, we saw him at Bayern Munich playing very well and it’s a pity.
“I think Bellingham sees the chance that he can be a leader at Liverpool, as soon as he goes there”.
We’ve seen figures quoted from Florian Plettenberg suggesting a fee between €100-150m (equates to roughly between £86-129m). What difference will his family expressing a preference for Liverpool have with the price?
“I think the €150 million, or the £130 million, is a benchmark.
“If Bellingham, as we heard, is convinced to go to Liverpool and convinced about Jurgen Klopp but at the end of the day – he has a contract at Dortmund and Dortmund won’t say ‘Yes, we know Jurgen very well and he’s a very nice guy so you can have him 20 million cheaper – we won’t take the offer from Real Madrid and we won’t take the offer from Chelsea or Manchester City!’.
“So, no that won’t work. I heard that Liverpool can pay about €100 million, around £85 or 86 million, that’s not enough for the moment but it’s the beginning of a [game of] poker – at the end they have to see if the others like City, who are very interested, say that they can pay for him – Pep Guardiola is also a very convincing manager too when he talks to players.
“You shouldn’t count on getting him cheaper but perhaps Fenway Sports Group will sell the club and the new owners can put a little money in and the supporters are happy!”.
What kind of wages will Bellingham be likely to demand?
“This is not the big point in these discussions, first it’s about where he can play and where he can perform.
“I heard that Real Madrid have been informed that the talks are very far with Liverpool, so you can see that for him – it’s not the first question [about] money otherwise Chelsea or PSG, who have also said already that they want him, would be in a better position.
“I think he knows that he’s young and he sees now that what is the point [of more money] if you move to England in such a position [that he is currently in] he won’t lose this now if he goes to a club and says ‘I want more money but it will be more trouble to play’.
“I think he’s very clear in his head that at first it’s ‘Can I play there’ [rather than money] and I think Jurgen Klopp did a very good job to convince him”.
Liverpool are in the market for a new Sporting Director and one name that has been linked is Sven Mislintat, is there any truth in these rumours or any names you’re aware of?
“Sven Mislintat was the Sporting Director for VfB Stuttgart, in the past he also worked for Dortmund – like Jurgen Klopp did but we have heard there have been no talks with Liverpool.
“There was a little contact but we heard that he will not be the next Sporting Director, it’s always good for him as he’s searching for a job now and if you’re connected with Liverpool you have better cards [to play] in the next talks but we heard that in the moment – there are no talks which are close to going ahead and if there are no more [with Liverpool] then it won’t happen”.
We’ve seen footage of the relationship of the relationship between Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold – what impact has that had on a possible move to Liverpool?
“Sure, it helps. Jamal Musiala was convinced to play for Germany because of the contact he had with the Bayern Munich players, I spoke with Gareth Southgate about that and he said ‘Yes, it’s a shame that the Munich players convinced him!’.
“This is always good for Liverpool and I spoke with Jamal Musiala also about this point and I asked if there was any chance he could bring him, as one of his best friends, to Munich and he said ‘No, no chance. I would really enjoy to play with him at the club but I think he won’t come to Munich and he will leave the Bundesliga’.
“So you can see it’s the [Liverpool] players, not just Jurgen Klopp, that are doing a good job to get [Bellingham] to the Premier League”.
The million dollar question, will Jude Bellingham be playing for Liverpool next season and should we be getting excited?
“That’s why we wrote it! There’s a very, very good chance that the answer is, yes!
“Because he would like to be there but at the end, the clubs have to talk and Liverpool have to bring the money and Dortmund is, at the end, the club that says yes, or no, or that they want to keep him.
“We have seen with Haaland and players before that they always get the money and they hold the players.
“In the case of Haaland, there was a release clause so they had not much time left but [Dortmund] can hold onto players if the money is not on the table so, it’s better than you bring it!”.
Are there any other interesting names that Liverpool fans should be keeping an eye on in terms of future transfers, at the moment?
“Christopher Nkunku is very closely linked to Chelsea and also Josko Gvardiol but there’s a little, little chance that Liverpool can get this player [Gvardiol], I think he’s one of the most exciting players we have at the moment in the Bundesliga and he is doing very, very well.
“I think in the defence you need a little bit of help at the moment, so perhaps if you get the chance to sign Gvardiol, then try it.”
Thanks again to Christian for speaking with us and you can watch the full interview via our YouTube channel: