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Is Jude Bellingham a realistic target for Manchester United?

Jude Bellingham has been linked with a move to Old Trafford
Jude Bellingham has been linked with a move to Manchester United (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

As per Laurie Whitwell of The Athletic, it has recently been reported that Manchester United are keen on signing young starlet Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund.

It has been said that Dortmund value the midfielder at a whopping €150m (£131m), with other European clubs also interested in acquiring the services of the Bellingham, including Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

With such a heavy price tag being quoted and the other big clubs in the fray, it begs the question as to whether or not United could complete the transfer of the 19-year-old over the next 12 months, and whether or not a deal would benefit United on and off the pitch.

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One thing that is for sure with the transfer negotiators at Old Trafford is that they like a big money outlay on a star signing in any transfer window. You only have to look back in recent memory to recall the likes of Angel Di Maria (2015), Paul Pogba (2016), Romelu Lukaku (2017) and most recently Antony, who signed in the summer in a deal that rises to £100m with add-ons included.

Too add to that, fans know the value of social media attraction to a commercial entity like Manchester United, and there is no doubt that the signing of one of the best young players in the world at the moment would bring immense exposure, which in turn leads to more money. Furthermore, the fact that Bellingham is an English international does a lot of good for the club when you consider the overarching bias towards Englishmen in the Premier League, particularly from the media and pundits.

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It would be a disservice to Bellingham to say he would just be a commercial asset, though. Since signing for Dortmund back in 2020, he has produced countless top performances on both a domestic stage in the Bundesliga, as well as some respectable showings on the continent; it was only last week that the Birmingham-born man scored away at the Etihad with a great header in the Champions League.

His abilities as a box-to-box midfielder allow him to stand out in big games. His tenacity, passing and dribbling would be seen as his best attributes, yet you cannot overlook his pace and eye for a shot. His defending, whilst certainly not being his strong point, is still more than adequate for a big team. He really is an all-round midfielder that will only improve with time. Remember- he is only 19 years of age.

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This skillset would be an asset to any manager and particularly Erik Ten Hag, who only really has Christian Eriksen to play that no.8 role to full effect at the moment. It remains to be seen if Donny van de Beek could do it, but Bellingham would be a no-brainer in terms of a player to come in and strengthen the side.

You would expect that, although his club want to keep him, they would be compliant in letting Bellingham go for the €150m price that is being mentioned. Dortmund have always been a club who sign young players and eventually sell them on for megabucks, as seen with Ousmane Dembele, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland with their big money moves away from Die Schwarzgelben (The Black and Yellows). Having signed him for just £22.5m, Dortmund would easily make quadruple that amount in profit to then reinvest in other youngsters and keep their business model moving nicely.

However, Reds fans know that this deal would not be a simple one to complete. The other clubs involved are attractive propositions; Real Madrid are the current Champions League holders, with Manchester City looking as strong as ever under Pep Guardiola. Even the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea are good outfits, despite recent rough patches. The Red Devils are currently in the Europa League and there is no guarantee of Champions League football next season, which is something Bellingham will definitely want.

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It is difficult to judge this early, though. Football is very unpredictable. It would not be a major shock if United were playing attractive football and were in the Champions League come 2023/24. Bellingham could see a project coming to fruition in Manchester and want to be a part of it, particularly with Ten Hag being a coach who thrives with young players and improves their overall game.

In summary, there a certainly more pros than cons to a potential deal for Jude Bellingham to Manchester United, whether they be commercial gains or footballing gains. Like most things in football, time will tell, and any potential transfer depends on how the Reds are looking come the Summer of next year (it would be unlikely for a January transfer given the amount of money and quality of player).

Just like classy Eriksen in that midfield two, this transfer saga is certainly worth watching as the season progresses.

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