Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham has confessed that he was only looking for the best place to play regular football when it came time for him to pick a club this summer. The former Birmingham City youngster was heavily linked to a catalogue of clubs this summer but opted for a move to Germany.
It shocked many when Borussia Dortmund swooped in and signed Jude Bellingham for a fee that could rise to €25 million with the Englishman linked to several clubs. That list included both the Manchester giants, Arsenal, Tottenham and even clubs from Italy and Spain. However, no-one had courted the 17-year-old more than Manchester United with Sir Alex Ferguson even giving Bellingham a private tour of the training ground.
But that didn’t work and the move, so far, has been a stunning success. In his first few months with the German giants, Bellingham has gone from strength to strength. He has already won Rookie of the month award for September and became the youngest English player to start a Champions League. It has seen the teenager open up about his move and Bellingham admitted that the “only thing I was bothered about in making this decision was playing football” this summer.
“The only thing I was bothered about in making this decision was playing football, and it was the best place to do that. There’s plenty of young players out there who, if given the chance, would shine at first-team level but they don’t quite get the chance for whatever reason. I’m almost an example, as well as many others in our first team at the minute, to just give them a chance, throw them in the deep end and see what they can do. Because I think, as we start to learn more and more, there’s a lot more [young players] in the Championship now [who] can handle it,” Bellingham told the Guardian.
The teenager, who made 41 Championship appearances last season for his boyhood side, was heavily linked to a myriad of clubs but opted for Dortmund. That meant snubbing Manchester United and Bellingham added that he has nothing against United but Dortmund’s youth system made him pick them. He further added that "there is not a club in Europe that" hands young players a chance better than Dortmund and that helped his decision.
“Man United have a great squad. And my decision had nothing to do with Man United. I was so focused and so happy with the interest from Dortmund that this became my first choice. It was never: ‘It’s this over this club.’ For me it was Borussia Dortmund, and that’s it. The way they integrate young players into the first-team squad is next level. There is not a club in Europe that does it quite like them."
"The way they are pushed and can also be reeled back in. They can review your performances. There is a person there for every player, especially Otto [Addo, the former Dortmund and Ghana striker], who has worked with the young players. He is great. Everyone has that support system to work for their chance in the first team,” he added.