Liverpool could suffer a nightmare Jude Bellingham scenario after Manchester United’s decision on their transfer interest in Enzo Fernandez.

Manchester United could hand Liverpool a major transfer headache after reportedly taking the lead in the race to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez. The Reds have been left with a crucial call to make as the risk of also missing out on priority target Jude Bellingham lingers.

United and Liverpool are on the hunt for a marquee midfield signing in 2023, with Bellingham and Fernandez emerging as two of Europe’s brightest talents. But Erik ten Hag is understood to have stolen a march on Jurgen Klopp in the battle for the latter’s signature.

According to Portuguese journalist Bruno Andrade, United have indicated that they are willing to trigger Fernandez’s £105million release clause in the January transfer window. In doing so, they have moved ahead of Liverpool in the running for the 21-year-old sensation.

The Old Trafford giants opted against making a concrete approach for Fernandez in the summer before he joined Benfica in a £16m deal from River Plate. And it’s now set to cost them or any suitor substantially more after his stunning start to life in Europe and successful World Cup campaign.

Fernandez was an important part of Argentina’s triumphant campaign in Qatar, boosting his stocks further ahead of potentially making a rapid next step with a high-profile transfer. But while the report adds that Bellingham is Liverpool’s priority over the Benfica star, Klopp could risk missing out on both.

If United are ahead in the pursuit of Fernandez, potentially as a result of Liverpool’s hesitance to splash a nine-figure fee, the Anfield outfit must focus their full attention on securing Bellingham. That said, the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund ace is set to demand an even higher fee.

If the Reds show reluctance to also complete a deal for Bellingham, Manchester City and Real Madrid have the financial might to swoop in and leave them with neither.

So there is now a dilemma at hand; do Liverpool fight until the end for Fernandez or abandon that mission and go all-out for the future of England’s midfield?

Fernandez and Bellingham have the potential to stand at the forefront of the elite midfield bracket for the next decade, making both enticing opportunities in the 2023 transfer market.

And for a club like Liverpool challenging for domestic and European titles, missing out on both would be catastrophic.

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