Manchester United have reportedly become the favourites to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to add further reinforcements to his first-team squad.
According to The Sun, United have stolen a march of their rivals in the pursuit of the highly-rated 18-year-old’s signature.
The report states that: “A source said: ‘United may have lost out last year when he moved to Germany, but the groundwork they put in has made a lasting impression on Jude and his family.
“They were really impressed with the effort United made and the respect they were shown by everyone at the club. Meeting Sir Alex Ferguson was the icing on the cake.
“Ultimately, as Jude has made clear since, he decided to move to the club where he could see he would play games straight away and gain top-level experience week in, week out.
“United couldn’t offer that, but his memories from that day and the interactions he had with the club are extremely fond ones. United did everything right so maybe in the future that will work in their favour.'”
Bellingham was first linked with a move to Old Trafford last summer, but he eventually decided to snub the advances of the 20-time English champions, instead choosing to join Dortmund in a £25m move.
His impressive performances at the Signal Iduna Park earned him a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad despite his tender years and he clearly impressed the national team manager.
“Jude is phenomenal. Just in training in the last couple of days, to have a 17-year-old, who wants to compete with senior players, not only has the technique but the competitiveness and maturity… he’s a hugely exciting player,” said Southgate.
After playing a limited role in the Three Lions’ run to the final of the European Championships, Bellingham has hit the ground running for his club this season, bagging two goals and providing four assists in just eight appearances.
It was widely reported that Solskjaer was keen to bring another midfielder to Old Trafford over the summer as Eduardo Camavinga and Saul Niguez were heavily linked, but the pair moved to Real Madrid and Chelsea, respectively.
With Paul Pogba entering the final year of his contract with the Red Devils, potentially seeing him depart on a free transfer in 12 months’ time, it’s easy to understand why the Norwegian tactician is determined to bring in extra options, which is why John Murtough must do all he can to get a deal done.
The arrival of Bellingham would significantly soften the blow of the World Cup winner’s potential exit, allowing Solskjaer to continue his progress in the red half of Manchester.