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Former Birmingham City CEO explains Man United’s pursuit of Jude Bellingham in 2020



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Manchester United’s pursuit of Jude Bellingham in the summer of 2020 has been detailed by Dong Ren, Birmingham City’s former CEO. The Reds offered the 16-year-old a lucrative package before being turned down for a move to Borussia Dortmund.

At the time, the Championship club had an uber-talented 16-year-old midfielder on their books. He appeared 44 times for The Blues during the 2019/20 campaign, attracting attention from a number of Europe’s elite clubs in the process.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United’s manager at the time, was a fan and despite Bellingham having just finished his GCSEs, the Norwegian was eager to bring the Englishman to the Theatre of Dreams.

“United made the biggest offer we received compared to Bayern, Dortmund, Leicester or other clubs like Wolves. They all called,” explained Ren, via mundodeportivo.

It seemed a bold call at the time to throw money toward such a young player. United were trying to push on in the Premier League after a third-placed finish. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

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Not only did The Reds put the money on the table, they also attempted to ‘woo’ the young star with appearances from two club legends, one being Sir Alex Ferguson, when he visited Carrington for talks.

“United offered twice as much as the rest of the clubs, they even brought him together with Ferguson, Cantona and Solskjaer to convince him,” added Ren.

However, despite all of this effort, Bellingham was insistent on focusing on his development rather than the financial incentives. His second season in the professional game needed consistent game-time and he had a smart enough head on his shoulders to identify that the Bundesliga — and in particular, Dortmund — offered young talents the chance to blossom.

“Ed Woodward 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,” Ren continued.

“They offered a lot more salary compared to the rest. Same for him. double. He was going to have guaranteed millions in the bank and he didn’t take them. That’s not normal for a player at all.”

United missed out on one of the biggest midfield talents in recent years. He looks to be on the move again this coming summer but it’s unlikely that The Reds will be in the race this time around.