Separation or contract extension: Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham conundrum

Jude Bellingham (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Jude Bellingham (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images) /

The argument for allowing Jude Bellingham to leave

On the opposite end of this discussion, we of course have the idea that Borussia Dortmund could choose to cash in and allow Jude Bellingham to join one of the many clubs interested in him this summer. The argument here is also a rather simple one, at least at face value.

Allowing Bellingham to join another team would likely bring in close to 150 million euros, if not more, for the club to dispense with how they see fit. There are numerous areas on the pitch that BVB need to improve, particularly in midfield and defense. In the case that Jude were to depart for pastures new, a new midfielder of a similar profile will have to be identified and brought in. The club are already certainly looking into options while Jude makes his own decisions about his future, but in addition to a midfielder to replace Jude, the BVB bosses will also have to find a player to replace Mahmoud Dahoud who is set to leave on a free transfer.

In defense, Borussia Dortmund will be looking to bring in some depth in the left back and right back positions. Felix Passlack is set to leave in the summer, while Thomas Meunier’s limited involvement over the second half of the season points towards separation, which is in the best interest for both parties involved.

Marius Wolf has also shown that, while he is an admirable option, Dortmund will need a new, starting right-back next season.

On the left flank, BVB look to be closing in on the signing of Ramy Bensebaini on a free transfer if, and Raphaël Guerreiro’s future seems to be in midfield, should he choose to extend with Die Schwarzgelben. This effectively only really leaves Julian Ryerson to play backup to Bensebaini, and Mateu Morey on the right. It’s clear then, that Dortmund will need to heavily invest in players to fill these roles. In that vein, Iván Fresneda has already been linked with a move to Dortmund since the winter break.

Then there is also the question of whether one more year of Jude Bellingham will be that transformative for the club as a whole. We’ve seen in the past that Dortmund have weighed the option of selling for higher financial benefit against losing the player either at a discount or on a free and chosen to go with the latter. Robert Lewandowski is a prime example of this, as the club chose to keep the player until his contract expired and allowed him to join Bayern Munich on a free rather than selling him for a substantial sum. Dortmund’s final decision regarding Bellingham will also take this into account; Are the club willing to let Bellingham go for less if they see him being a key factor in the club’s plans next season? Possibly. Do they see the possible funds to reinvest into the squad more broadly as more important? Also very possible.

Final Thoughts

Borussia Dortmund’s final decision regarding Jude Bellingham will have to depend on whether they believe they are stronger with him in the side, or if they see balancing the side with talent throughout as a better way to move the squad forward. It will also depend on the type of deal they strike with the player; namely whether they are able to add an additional year onto the player’s contract or if they’ll have to sell him next summer at a discount, which could be at their detriment long term. If BVB’s goal is to move forward on a competitive level, then perhaps investing in balancing the squad this summer rather than waiting an additional year is the way to go

On the flip side, as we’ve mentioned, the presence of players such as Jude Bellingham is an attractive prospect for other players when they consider joining a team like BVB. It also signals BVB’s intention to move away from their current model as a club that develops talent to sell them on, or at least it shows that the club refuses to let the market dictate their decisions, and that sales are orchestrated on their terms.

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​The plus in all this is that no matter what the final decision is, Borussia Dortmund will benefit in one way or another, and the overarching outcome as to whether Jude Bellingham stays or goes will come down to the finer details of the negotiations between the club and player. As with many decisions in football, it will be a cost benefit analysis to decide the stronger, long-term position for the club moving forward.