Jude Bellingham is one of Europe’s hottest properties right now and the expectation is that the exciting England midfielder will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of this season.
Bellingham joined the German giants from Birmingham in 2020 but at the time of his move, United were one of the clubs heavily linked with a transfer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was the manager at the time, was said to be a huge admirer of Bellingham but a move never materialised and it’s safe to assume that United have been kicking themselves ever since.
Now, nearly three years after joining Dortmund, former Birmingham CEO has revealed that United pulled out all of the stops to secure Bellingham’s signature in 2020.
Former Blues chief Xuandong Ren has opened up on Bellingham’s departure and he has now revealed that the midfielder rejected a move to United despite the Old Trafford club organising meetings with Eric Cantona and Sir Alex Ferguson in a charm offensive.
“Ed Woodward [then United CEO] was the most insistent. We sat down and talked about how we could convince Bellingham. But Jude didn’t make any decisions based on money.
“They offered much more salary compared to the rest. Maybe double. He was going to have guaranteed millions in the bank and he did not take them. That’s not normal for a player at all.
“He sat down with [then manager Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer, [Sir Alex] Ferguson and another day [Eric] Cantona, to try to convince him.
“But before the last three games of the season he had decided on Dortmund. They told us they wanted to go as a player and as a family.
“I could have told him, “Jude, Manchester United offers you three times what we have, you have to go”. It was a difficult position, because I wanted to respect his decision.
“Our promise was that we would let them make the decision because of the loyalty they showed us.”
Of course, United have come to regret their failure to land Bellingham in 2020 but the 19-year-old remains a target for the club today and if the side continues to improve under Erik ten Hag, another pursuit cannot be ruled out.
United must, however, accept that they are no longer frontrunners to sign him after his stellar development with Dortmund. Real Madrid are said to be holding an interest, with Liverpool also keen.