Jude Bellingham: who is £30m Man Utd transfer target?
While the long wait for the expected arrival of Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes goes on, Manchester United have reportedly turned their attention elsewhere.
The Red Devils have submitted a £30m bid for Birmingham City starlet Jude Bellingham, according to The Sun.
Who is Jude Bellingham?
Jude Bellingham is a highly-rated 16-year-old midfielder on the books at Birmingham City. He is a local lad, having been born in nearby Stourbridge. His dad Mark is a sergeant in West Midlands Police and previously had a prolific career in non-league football.
Mark scored more than 700 goals for around 15 clubs, including East Thurrock, Stourbridge, Leamington, Sutton Coldfield, Bromsgrove Rovers, Halesowen Town and Paget Rangers.
Why are United interested in Jude Bellingham?
Everybody is. Bellingham is one of European football’s top prospects. The Sun’s report claims that Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Dortmund are just some of the clubs rivalling United in their efforts to sign Bellingham.
Scouts from all of Europe’s top clubs are said to be dispatched to Birmingham games to monitor the youngster’s progress.
Jude Bellingham’s youth career
Bellingham signed for Birmingham City as a seven-year-old and has been on their books ever since. He came through the ranks quickly, making his debut for the under-23 side aged 15 and scoring a late winner against Nottingham Forest to mark the occasion.
He started a two-year scholarship with the club in July 2019, but was involved in the first-team pre-season plans and given a squad number soon after that.
Jude Bellingham’s first-team career so far
Bellingham made his first-team debut for Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup first round tie against Portsmouth on August 6, 2019. He was aged just 16 years and 38 days at the time, which means he is Birmingham City’s youngest ever player. He beat Trevor Francis’ record of 16 years and 139 days, which had stood since 1970.
Since making his debut, Bellingham has established himself as a first-team regular at St Andrew’s. He made his Championship debut against Swansea City on August 27, while his deflected goal against Stoke City on August 31 secured a 2-1 win and made him Birmingham City’s youngest ever goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 63 days.
He has since clocked up 26 appearances and four goals in all competitions.
Despite his prominent role in the team, Bellingham is still on his scholarship deal and earning £145-a-week. He will be in line for a considerable pay rise – either at St Andrew’s or elsewhere – when he celebrates his 17th birthday on June 23.
What about his international career?
Bellingham captained England Under-15s and is an England Under-16 and Under-17 international.
He scored four goals in seven appearances for the U16s before moving up an age group. He has two goals in his three appearances at U17 level to date.
All of his England U17s appearances came in the Syrenka Cup in September 2019. He came off the bench to score in the opening game against Finland. The Blues starlet was promoted to the starting lineup and given the captaincy for the second game against Austria.
Bellingham then kept the armband as England beat hosts Poland on penalties in the final. He was named player of the tournament.