Soccer

Man Utd make Jude Bellingham ‘No 1 transfer priority’

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Manchester United have reportedly made Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham their top transfer priority ahead of the 2023 summer transfer window. Competition for the teenager’s signature will be tough, but the groundwork laid by director of football John Murtough could edge the Red Devils ahead of Manchester City and Liverpool.

Interested parties are already ramping up efforts to sign Bellingham from Dortmund next summer. The England international has become a key man at BVB, who are thought to be weighing up a £130million sale once the season finishes. 

That would bank Dortund a tidy profit on the £25m they paid Birmingham City in 2020, beating a host of top teams to sign Bellingham as a 17-year-old. Many of the same sides are expected to have another go next summer with United, Liverpool and City among them. 

According to Sky Germany, the Red Devils hierarchy have put their heads together and concluded that Bellingham should be their No 1 transfer priority in 2023. 

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While Liverpool have reportedly set aside just £87m to get the deal done, United expect an asking price in the region of £130m. Financial Fair Play restrictions, as well as competition from City and the Reds have both been touted as potential stumbling blocks for Erik ten Hag’s side. 

Murtough could provide a distinct advantage for United, however, as reports indicate that he maintains a personal relationship with Bellingham’s father, Mark. That’s supposedly viewed as essential by interested clubs, given that he still has a ‘major influence’ over Bellingham’s career. 

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The relationship between Bellingham’s father and Murtough is unsurprising given that United are believed to have scouted the midfielder almost 50 times during his career. They came close to signing him as a schoolboy and once again put their cards on the table two years ago before he ultimately opted for Dortmund.

It remains to be seen whether the foundations laid by Murtough is enough to convince Bellingham that Old Trafford would be the best place to continue his development. United have already been warned by former Premier League striker Tony Cascarino that landing the 19-year-old won’t be a simple task.

“He’s the most exciting one out there and he seems to have all of the attributes to be a terrific player in the way that Liverpool play,” he told talkSPORT.

“Let’s get it right, if he keeps progressing in the way that he is, every club in the country and abroad will want him at the very highest level. There will be 10 of them. It won’t be like one club and they’re the only club chasing Jude Bellingham, it’ll be a lot.”

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