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Rafael Van der Vaart Judges Jude Bellingham v Ryan Gravenberch Debate: ‘Better At Everything’

Rafael Van der Vaart Judges Jude Bellingham v Ryan Gravenberch Debate: ‘Better At Everything’

Transfer news surrounding Liverpool for the past couple of seasons has largely revolved around one player: the highly in-demand Jude Bellingham.

The young England International tops the wishlist of many elite clubs, including the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, and of course Liverpool.

At just 19, the former Birmingham City midfielder has already established himself as one of the best No.8s in World Football. He pairs his youthful energy with an unmatched sense of maturity, a normally unseen quality for players his age.

With so many attributes to boast of, it comes as no surprise that Liverpool sees Bellingham as the ideal candidate for their RCM slot.

However, their pursuit for the midfielder has reportedly reached a screeching halt, with Dortmund slapping a price tag of £120m+ on their prized asset.

As such, the Reds have reportedly begun looking elsewhere for reinforcements, with one of the players they’ve looked at being Chelsea’s Mason Mount.

Another possible candidate Liverpool could consider is Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch. The 20-year-old is an exciting young midfielder whose potential appears to be off the charts. 

While most consider Bellingham to be a notch above the Dutchman, his fellow compatriot and former Tottenham Hotspur man Rafael Van der Vaart beg to differ.

During a recent segment on Ziggo Sport, Van der Vaart expressed how highly he rates Gravenberch in a brazen fashion.

The 40-year-old said, ‘I think Gravenberch is better than him in everything, especially physically.’
A brave declaration, to say the least, especially given the current state of both players.

While Bellingham is effectively BVB’s talisman, Gravenberch is far from a crucial player at Bayern.

In fact, the 20-year-old has made just a single start in the Bundesliga this season, alongside 17 appearances as a substitute. With just 585 minutes of playing time, all signs point towards Gravenberch failing to establish a foothold in the Bayern squad.

A product of De Toekomst, his time at Ajax is a far better reflection of the midfielder’s abilities.
Gravenberch turned into a regular starter for Ajax during the 2021/22 season, having played 38 games across the Eredivisie and Champions League.

The 20-year-old primarily functions as No.8 who can drop into the back line to assist with the build-up, and also pop up in the final third. Gravenberch is known for being an excellent ball carrier and for providing incisive passes, his positional awareness is similarly top-notch.

Despite the glaring similarities to Bellingham, the two midfielders differ in one key aspect which is seemingly reserved to the latter’s profile.

The Englishman is an all-action No.8 perfectly suited to Liverpool’s playing style, Bellingham can press aggressively and command a large area of the pitch, he also has the ability to offer up goals and assists, a trait which leads to comparisons with Reds’ legend Steven Gerrard.

Despite this, Van der Vaart stated that Gravenberch is more physically astute, a valid point considering that the Dutchman stands at the colossal height of 6 ‘2.

Nevertheless, Bellingham remains the superior player as of right now. But there’s no telling how high Gravenberch’s ceiling can be, especially under the management of Jurgen Klopp.