May 31, 2024

Manchester United will wonder what could have been as Jude Bellingham prepares to star for Real Madrid in the Champions League final.


All eyes will be on Bellingham as he goes up against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday night, the side that nurtured him for three years after leaving boyhood club Birmingham City. A win over his former team would see the England star lift the most prized club trophy in European football and cement his place as the leading contender to win the Ballon d’Or.


Bellingham, who has already claimed the La Liga title with Real Madrid, has improved beyond recognition since his breakthrough campaign at St Andrew’s, aged 16. The midfielder notably rejected a high-profile move to United back in 2020, with part of the club’s sales pitch reportedly angering Sir Alex Ferguson.



Man Utd flop dubbed ‘next Thierry Henry’ sums up problems Sir Jim Ratcliffe must fix


Wayne Rooney picks team he wishes he’d joined leaving Gary Neville speechless

Bellingham was a clear rising star and European clubs battled it out for the then-teenager, who had made 44 appearances for Birmingham. United were among those leading the charge as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prepared a presentation to convince Bellingham of his first team prospects, roping in several club legends to help seal the deal.


The Athletic reported that Solskjaer brought Ferguson in to speak to Bellingham and his family during their trip to Carrington. However, it is claimed that football director John Murtough cut short their interaction to show Bellingham around the training facilities, leaving Ferguson ‘incandescent’, though Murtough has denied interrupting their conversation.

Recalling the meeting, Solskjaer told Stick to Football: “Jude, he was in the building. I was there, Sir Alex Ferguson was there, Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona were all there that day when he came to the club.


“We all spoke to him and sold it as well as we could. He knew what he wanted, a certain amount of minutes in the first team. He was 17 at the time, and he was the most mature 17-year-old I’ve ever met – he had it all planned out.”


Have your say! How would joining Manchester United have changed Jude Bellingham’s career? Tell us in the comments section below


Jude Bellingham rejected Manchester United to sign for Borussia Dortmund


Although there may have been doubts about Bellingham becoming an instant star for United, it seems that the England international has always been wise beyond his years. Former United defender Rio Ferdinand previously claimed that Bellingham rejected the club as he was unconvinced by his chances of earning regular game time.


That certainly stacks up with what Bellingham said after signing for Dortmund: “The direction they are heading in and how much they help to improve young players made it an easy decision for myself and my family,” he explained.


Dortmund had built a strong reputation for developing young players after Jadon Sancho’s successful spell in Germany, and Bellingham would also play alongside Erling Haaland.


Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham faced Manchester United in a pre-season friendly last summer.


Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham faced Manchester United in a pre-season friendly last summer.

It was not through a lack of effort from United that Bellingham opted to move abroad. Former Birmingham City CEO Dong Ren revealed that the Red Devils prepared a much more lucrative deal but that it did not sway Bellingham’s mindset.


“United made the biggest offer we received compared to Bayern, Dortmund, Leicester or other clubs like Wolves,” Ren told Mundo Deportivo. “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.”


Perhaps Bellingham was always destined to reject United in favour of Dortmund, even if Ferguson had been able to go on a full charm offensive. However, ex-United captain Bryan Robson has joked that he and Eric Cantona are to blame for Bellingham refusing to sign for the club.


“It was really looking promising that he was going to be signing for Manchester United,” Robson told The Telegraph. “Me and Eric did a rubbish job as he signed for Borussia! We thought we had him in the bag!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *