Jude Bellingham might be the most famous name in European football right now. He is also arguably one of the most in-form players in the world, scoring goals for fun for Real Madrid in both La Liga and Champions League play. The English sensation just picked a prestigious award at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris, winning the Kopa Trophy for the best U21 player in football. So what does that have to do with Manchester United?
Since his time at Birmingham City, there has always been a focus on Jude, destined to be a star boy at a young age. It could be fully argued that he’s succeeded in those expectations, and he has put himself among the elite in world football. Still only 20 years old, Bellingham has been tasked with some difficult decisions early in his career, such as leaving his boyhood club, Birmingham City, at 17 years old to join Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
The German club was not his only option in the summer of 2020, though. It was reported that Premier League side Manchester United were also in the mix for signing Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City. Ultimately, as we’ve seen, Bellingham’s move to Dortmund has worked wonders for the player, who now presents himself as a serious candidate to win the Ballon d’Or next year.
What went wrong with Manchester United’s recruitment, though? It is hard to say precisely without being in the rooms where discussions were held, but former United player Rio Ferdinand has revealed what he’s heard (source via UtdReport):
"“Do you know what I heard it was, he wanted some assurances about being a first-team player. And United weren’t willing to give him those assurances, that’s what I heard from a very good source. He wasn’t given assurances of being around the first team and he’s said, ‘Do you know what, I know my worth, I know my value and if you don’t value me the way I see myself I’m going to have to jog on and go to another club’.”"
Given Jude had an entire season of Championship experience under his belt by the summer of 2020; it makes sense why the midfielder did not want to return to academy play. Following in the footsteps of fellow Englishman Jadon Sancho, a move to Borussia Dortmund developed him into the star he is today.