Manchester City are firmly in the race to sign one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe in Jude Bellingham, but their ongoing legal problems could scupper their plans, says the Telegraph.
The Cityzens are in the middle of a squad rebuild and restructuring the midfield is a priority, with manager Pep Guardiola at least two players.
Bellingham is believed to be at the centre of a summer midfield overhaul planned by City, with the club fairly confident of beating Liverpool and Real Madrid to the English sensation.
However, their move for the Borussia Dortmund teenager could be hindered by the Premier League charges of financial irregularities hovering over their head.
The reigning champions have been hit with over 100 charges of breaching financial rules, and there are a range of severe punishments awaiting the club if the allegations are proven.
One of the possible punishments includes a transfer ban which could effectively hand Bellingham’s other chasing suitors an upper hand in snatching the highly sought-after midfielder.
Although the case could linger beyond next summer, the Cityzens may not be able to part ways with the amount required by Dortmund for negotiations to begin.
City, who have been under the microscope for their lavish spending power for a while now, have welcomed the investigation and are open to an independent commission to ‘impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position’.
No timescale has been given for when the commission will hear the case, but City will plan for a normal summer transfer window pending when the verdict on their case will arrive.
However, their rebuild plans could still be compromised, with other possible punishments, including points deductions and expulsion from the English top flight, hanging over the club.
City are planning a rebuild amid concerns that most of the club’s top stars have fallen into a comfort zone after the recent success enjoyed by the club in the Guardiola era.
They are on the market for two midfielders as they look for long-term replacements for the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.
A full-back is also being targeted in the wake of Joao Cancelo’s shock loan move to Bayern Munich, and a winger is also on the club’s shopping list.
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