Football

Manchester United ready to battle for £110m Jude Bellingham

Manchester United ready to battle for £110m Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham playing for Borussia Dortmund - Man Utd ready to battle for £110m Jude Bellingham - Getty Images/Matthias Hangst

Jude Bellingham playing for Borussia Dortmund – Man Utd ready to battle for £110m Jude Bellingham – Getty Images/Matthias Hangst

Manchester United are ready to join the bidding for Jude Bellingham with the transfer fee for the England international believed to have been set at a minimum of €125million (£110million).

The fee for the 19-year-old would represent a record for a British player, surpassing the £100 million Manchester City paid for Jack Grealishwith talks over Bellingham’s future finally starting to come to a head.

It would also exceed the transfer paid by a British club which stands at the £106 million Chelsea committed to sign midfielder Enzo Fernandez in January.

City are strongly in the running for Bellingham – along with Liverpool and Real Madrid – with United now having registered their interest. Chelsea have not ruled out making an offer but accept they are not among the favourites for Bellingham’s signature.

It remains to be seen whether United formally enter the bidding, given the transfer budget which is set to be made available for Erik ten Hag this summer, but there is genuine interest.

Borussia Dortmund insist they still want to keep Bellingham, at least for one more season, and that it is not a given that he will leave at the end of this campaign.

However, Telegraph Sport understands that talks are now intensifying over Bellingham’s future and a decision is set to be made in the next few weeks over his preferred destination. “Everything is open,” said one source.

Interestingly it appears that an actual price has finally been mooted with, previously, simply an expectation that Bellingham would cost in excess of £100 million.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has already showered praise on the “absolutely exceptional” Bellingham and the club’s interest in the teenager – who they understandably regard as a natural heir to Steven Gerrard – is well-documented.

There has been a feeling within football that Bellingham may favour a move to Anfield but other clubs do not accept this and discussions are ongoing.

A major hurdle for Liverpool is also whether they can actually afford the asking price especially if they fail to qualify for Champions League football. However, Liverpool could soon receive an injection of cash from new investment and sources are sceptical that they cannot cover the deal.

Finance may also limit United’s chances with Ten Hag well-aware he will have to sell to help pay for any transfers this summer and with a top-line striker – such as Napoli’s Victor Osimhen or Tottenham’s Harry Kanewith one year left on his contract – a clear priority. However, he also accepts that United need to improve their midfield.

Erik ten Hag celebrates at Old Trafford - Man Utd ready to battle for £110m Jude Bellingham - Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Erik ten Hag celebrates at Old Trafford – Man Utd ready to battle for £110m Jude Bellingham – Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

As with other coaches, Ten Hag is a huge admirer of Bellingham and regards him as a generational talent who can also become a future captain of the club.

City, however, are likely to top any bid made for Bellingham and appear prepared to help finance that deal with the potential sale of Bernardo Silva, who has been of interest to Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. It also remains to be seen whether captain Ilkay Gundogan stays at City beyond this campaign although the 32-year-old has held talks over a new deal.

There were reports in the Spanish media earlier this week Madrid representatives flew to Germany to meet with Dortmund and discuss a deal and assuage any concerns he has about joining them. But this is not unexpected and similar conversations are taking place with other suitors, especially now Dortmund are out of the Champions League.

Champions League holders Madrid, who knocked Liverpool out on Wednesday night in their last-16 tie, have been wooing Bellingham for some time with local media claiming he will be part of a new, young, dynamic midfield for the future along with the French internationals Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni.

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