The Red Devils’ interest in the 16-year-old midfielder was revealed earlier this month and it is understood that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent assistant coach Mike Phelan to St Andrew’s to personally watch the midfielder in action on December 14.
Birmingham were slated to play city rivals West Bromwich Albion and although they lost, Bellingham gave a good account of himself and was replaced after 74 minutes.
Although the club are interested in finalising a deal for the midfielder this month, Birmingham’s asking price of £25 million is proving to be too steep and could potentially throw a spanner in the works.
Bellingham attracting interest from various clubs
Bellingham, an academy graduate and boyhood Birmingham City fan, broke into the first team this year after impressing in the Blues’ youth setup. He’s played 24 times this season and has scored four goals whilst also providing an assist.
The 16-year-old is capable of playing across the midfield but is most effective when deployed centrally. Besides United, it is believed that Bellingham has piqued the interest of a number of clubs within the country and across Europe.
Birmingham are aware of the wonderkid’s potential and are willing to cash-in on their prized asset this month, albeit on one condition - any deal for Bellingham has to include an option of an 18-month loan back to Birmingham immediately, which makes sense on a lot of levels.
He’s part of the first-team setup at Birmingham and expecting him to break into the senior squad at a club like United, with the current crisis surrounding them, seems unreasonable. For Bellingham, staying put at his parent club for a year or two will aid his overall development, after which he can continue his progress elsewhere at a much higher level with world-class players around him.
It’ll be interesting to see how this will unfold eventually, especially considering that United are currently struggling to close a deal for Sporting Lisbon star Bruno Fernandes.
Published 20 Jan 2020, 13:32 IST