Manchester United were dealt a huge blow as Jude Bellingham decided to sign for Borussia Dortmund to bring the long-running transfer saga to an end in the summer. If Ed Woodward wasn’t already regretting his failure to sign the former Birmingham City teenage prospect, he will surely be doing so right now after Bellingham came off the bench to earn his first senior cap for his country in the 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland this week.
According to The Mirror, the fully-fledged England international is expected to stay with his teammates in order to continue his development as a player.
The Dortmund dynamo, 17, became the third-youngest player to represent the Three Lions after he was handed his debut by Gareth Southgate.
Southgate is apparently so impressed by his attitude that Bellingham has been included in the senior squad to face Belgium and Iceland in the Nations League.
Bellingham burst onto the scene at Birmingham City, where the teenager enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the Blues, scoring four goals and supplying two assists in the Championship, whilst he averaged 2.2 clearances, 1.2 shots and 1.1 dribbles per game, via WhoScored.
German giants Dortmund signed the Stourbridge-born central midfielder from Birmingham in the summer for a fee believed to be somewhere in the region of £20.7m, which could rise to £30m depending on performance-related bonuses.
Comfortable in possession and confident on the ball, the talented teen has immediately picked up where he left off last season with Lucien Favre’s side, having made six appearances in the Bundesliga so far this season, registering one assist, whilst he has made 2 tackles, 1.2 shots and 1.2 dribbles per game, as per WhoScored.
By comparison, his United counterpart Donny van de Beek has endured a frustrating start to life at Old Trafford, whilst he is averaging fewer than one tackle and one shot per game in the Premier League, via WhoScored.
It’s perhaps hardly surprising Bellingham was recently described as a “fantastic talent” by Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings, after he was promoted to Southgate’s senior squad following injuries to Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse. It’s worth remembering he bagged more times than United first-team regulars Nemanja Matic and Fred last term, even if you combine both their scores together.
Whilst hindsight is a wonderful thing, Woodward should’ve pulled the trigger whilst he still had the chance to sign him in the summer, as he may have become a club legend in the mould of his childhood hero Wayne Rooney.
The future seems bright for Bellingham, whose market value is €40-50m (£36-45m) as per Football Observatory, but we can’t say the same for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, that’s for sure.