Jude Bellingham’s Future Still Up In The Air

There is still every chance that one of English soccer’s biggest prospects will become a Manchester United player. At least that’s the view of Birmingham City boss Pep Clotet, who currently manages midfield sensation Jude Bellingham. The Blues’ homegrown starlet has shone even at Championship level in the last 12 months and his performances have seen some of Europe’s biggest clubs start to take an interest.

Birmingham will not stand in Bellingham’s way of a life-changing move, with Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desperate to land him this summer. United’s biggest competition appears to be overseas, with Borussia Dortmund seemingly at the front of the queue to sign Bellingham. Dortmund have demonstrated their prowess at bringing through English talents in recent times, with former Manchester City winger Jadon Sancho given a platform to shine at the Westfalenstadion.

United have certainly pulled out all the stops to try and encourage Bellingham to become a part of Solskjaer’s long-term revolution at Old Trafford. During a tour of United’s Carrington training ground, Bellingham was met by United icon, Sir Alex Ferguson. According to FOX Bet, which operates regulated online sports betting in three US states, United are the most successful team in Premier League history with 13 titles. Nevertheless, it does appear that the allure of playing for the Red Devils is not what it once was.

Is there a pathway to United’s first team for Bellingham?
One of the main stumbling blocks for United may be reassuring Bellingham and his advisers that there is a pathway to the first team for him. Despite being labelled a wonderkid, Bellingham would have to compete with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Fred and Scott McTominay for a starting berth. Even though the long-term future surrounding Pogba is particularly uncertain, Bellingham may fear that it would be too long to wait for first-team football at Old Trafford.

That uncertainty is likely to have given Borussia Dortmund the upper hand in transfer negotiations. Jadon Sancho has come on leaps and bounds since his 2017 switch to Dortmund from Manchester City. In 98 senior appearances, Sancho has been directly involved in 77 goals, helping him to cement a place in Gareth Southgate’s England senior squad. Bellingham may be tempted by a similar path in the Bundesliga, before returning to England once the rougher edges to his game have been smoothed.

Bayern Munich could hijack Dortmund’s bid
Bellingham’s Bundesliga journey may not necessarily be taken in a Dortmund jersey. Although Dortmund are reported to have negotiated a lucrative long-term contract with Bellingham, long-time rivals Bayern Munich are also said to be in close liaison with Bellingham’s agent. Furthermore, Bellingham’s current employers are also becoming increasingly reticent to sanction the current transfer fee agreed with Dortmund – rumored to be in the region of £18m – because a bidding war could ensue over the coming weeks.

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Money is clearly no object at Old Trafford, so it’s still possible that the United hierarchy could put together a more lucrative package for Birmingham and Bellingham to keep the starlet in the English game.

Solskjaer certainly has a hefty transfer war chest at his disposal this summer. Ironically, Jadon Sancho – the player that Bellingham wishes to emulate – could also become a Manchester United player before the new Premier League season. Dortmund are thought to have slapped a hefty £117m price tag on the wide man but that does not appear to have deterred the Reds’ chief executive Ed Woodward.

United also have ambitions to sign another talented English winger in the shape of Jack Grealish. The Aston Villa ace, who has been with his boyhood club all his footballing career, is ready to spread his wings in a £80m deal. Solskjaer is also thought to have been offered Brazilian midfielder Willian on a free transfer, with the 31-year-old’s contract coming to an end at Chelsea this summer. Bellingham may not be as flashy a signing as Sancho, Grealish or Willian, but his arrival at Old Trafford would signal the next phase of a rebuilding process from the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

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