Manchester United are eager to complete a deal to sign Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham before the January transfer window closes.
Despite being just 16 years old, Bellingham has been a regular starter for Birmingham this season, recording four goals and an assist in 25 appearances for Pep Clotet’s side.
Unsurprisingly, his rise to prominence has attracted interest from some of England’s top sides. As noted by The Athletic’s David Ornstein, United assistant Mike Phelan personally went to scout Bellingham earlier in the season and was impressed with what he saw.
Phelan watched Bellingham play 74 minutes of a 3-2 loss to West Bromwich Albion back in December, and he encouraged United to push for a transfer this month.
However, Birmingham want £25m for the teenager, and United are thought to be hesitant to spend so much money on a player who is just 16 years old.
Bellingham himself is also thought to be wary of joining United. He is happy playing regular senior football with Birmingham and fears that a switch to Old Trafford would land him in the Under-23 setup.
90min has learned that Liverpool were actually leading the race for his signature as Bellingham was most open to heading to Anfield. However, his family are incredibly open-minded about his future and would happily let him join any of the ‘big six’ sides or Leicester City.
It will be left up to Bellingham to decide where he spends his future, and he is expected to have no shortage of offers to choose from.
Primarily a central midfielder, Bellingham is comfortable out on either wing – he played on the right in front of Phelan – and his versatility has been vital for a Birmingham side who find themselves towards the bottom of the Championship.
Clotet’s side are 18th in the table, and while they do have a nine-point cushion above the relegation zone, it seems certain that Bellingham will soon make the step up to a stronger side if he can continue his current trajectory.