Manchester United are facing increasing opposition in their attempts to sign Birmingham City’s prodigy Jude Bellingham.
It had been reported as far back as September that Liverpool were also showing interest in Bellingham and have been tracking him for some time.
Earlier this week, The Mail claimed that Arsenal are also keen on the 16-year-old, with Michel Arteta believing that the young star would add renewed impetus to his stalling midfield.
Then this morning, The Sun reported that Chelsea have joined United in pursuit of the 16-year-old and are prepared to pay £35 million plus an extra £15 million in add-ons.
As if that all wasn’t enough, this evening The Mail returned with the news that both Juventus and Bayern Munich are in the hunt for the youngster’s signature.
The Championship side’s manager Pep Clotet has confirmed that there is a host of clubs tracking his player, saying ‘We are aware of interest in him. From the beginning he has been watched since he was 13 or 14…For the Middlesbrough game half of Europe was here. He is used to it and I am used to it.’
The Red Devils reportedly had a £30 million bid for Bellingham – a world record figure for a 16-year-old – turned down by the Blues in January after Mick Phelan scouted him in December.
It would seem that the Reds were right to try and bag the starlet’s signature before the competition heated up, and now face a huge battle with the world’s elite to secure his services. Despite the offer having been declined, it is an important feather in the club’s cap that they have been proactive from the start and as a result they must remain in pole position.
Whatever the eventual figure and whoever the winning bidders, it seems certain that Bellingham will become the world’s most expensive 16-year-old if he signs before June 29th or the world’s most expensive 17-year-old if he signs after that date.
Odion Ighalo is set to make his debut for United in next week’s game against Chelsea. But how much do you know about Man United’s African players over the years? Take our quiz to test your knowledge!