Who is Jude Bellingham and why should you care?
If you follow a top English club, you may have heard your team being linked with a certain 17-year-old by the name of Jude Bellingham.
The teenager, who had a breakthrough campaign with Birmingham City in the Championship, England’s second division, has been constantly linked with a move to a big Premier League club, primarily Manchester United and Chelsea.
However, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the youngster has decided to swap England for Germany and join Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, in a move that will cost over 23 million euros, excluding add-ons.
But who is this highly-touted youngster and why did he move to Germany instead of staying in his home country and moving to a Premier League giant?
We profile this exciting teenager:
What position does Bellingham play?
Like all youngsters, Bellingham has played a multitude of positions in midfield and in attack, but more recently, the 17-year-old has primarily featured as a box-to-box midfielder in a 4-4-2 formation or a defensive midfielder in a 3-5-2 formation.
Standing at 6’4”, Bellingham is blessed with immense technical ability and is progressive with the ball at his feet. The Stourbridge native has a good first touch and silky feet, making it difficult to glean the ball off him.
His defensive contribution is incredible. The tenacious midfielder leads the Birmingham press in the centre of the park and enjoys a tackle, having made 89 in 39 appearances this season in the Championship. The youngster also won back possession at an average of 2.6 times per game in the middle third of the field, which helps his side launch quick counters on the opposition.
Bellingham has scored four goals and assisted a further three for Birmingham in the Championship and while those numbers might not be particularly impressive, it is important to note that he plays for a side that aren't exactly known for their goal-scoring prowess and has scored just 53 in 44 matches in the league games.
The 17-year-old has no real weaknesses in his game and his numbers, as well as his performances, suggest that the teenager is destined to be a sensational midfielder soon.
Why did Bellingham choose Borussia Dortmund over Manchester United?
Reports suggest that Manchester United gave Bellingham and his father, Mark, a tour of the AON Training Complex as well as Old Trafford and even called in Sir Alex Ferguson to convince the youngster to join the club next season.
However, Romano suggests that the player’s advisors wanted guaranteed playing time, which United were unlikely to offer, given how deep United’s talent pool is in midfield.
A move to Dortmund makes sense in that regard, given how well players like Christian Pulisic, Manchester United target Jadon Sancho and the German giants’ January acquisition Erling Haaland, who also ditched a move to United in search of a starting role at Dortmund, have fared in the Bundesliga.
The German top-flight has been a hotbed for talent for a number of years and Sancho’s incredible success in the Bundesliga is prompting more and more English youngsters to ditch the bench of a top English club and play regularly in Germany.
Sancho, who left Manchester City on a free in 2017 and joined Dortmund, is now being touted with a move that is likely to break British record transfer fees of 89.7 million pounds back to his home country, and given how talented Bellingham is, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the youngster emulated Sancho in a couple of years or so.
Images courtesy: Twitter / @BellinghamJude, AFP / Sascha Schuermann