Manchester United’s planned move for Jude Bellingham hangs in the balance.
Sport Bild’s head of football Christian Falk told Utd Report that Bellingham has chosen Borussia Dortmund. The German press have been quite insistent on this over the past few months.
ESPN claim on the other hand, that while Dortmund lead the chase, United refuse to give up hope of winning the race for the talented midfielder.
If Bellingham does not sign, United can look at spending the transfer funds we have in other ways. That may not necessarily be on a young up and coming midfielder. We have a few of those already.
Obviously landing a generation talent would be good for United. But we have plenty of emerging talent to work with at Old Trafford that it need not be a disaster.
Bellingham would have blocked the path for a handful of United’s talented teenagers. Here is a look at the four who may be most relieved if the Birmingham City whizkid does choose Borussia Dortmund…
James Garner is already training with Manchester United’s first team, and made four Europa League starts this season.
He is an exciting talent, capable of playing a variety of roles. He has been likened to Michael Carrick, able to sit deep and dictate play, but this season he has really emerged as more of a box-to-box midfielder, and added goals to his game.
If Bellingham signs, then Garner will most likely be sent out on loan. But if he does not, United may look at the squad place designated for the Birmingham talent next season, and assign it to Garner instead.
Garner has the talent, he is on the right track, and this season has given him a bit of momentum. It would be good to see him work his way in and seize a chance over the next few weeks.
A deal for Bellingham would make life tough for the young Wales international.
Levitt is a big talent, he really impressed on his debut against Astana, and he has been consistently good for the under-23s.
The problem for him has been a lack of opportunities, as he has found Garner one place ahead of him in the pecking order. A move for Bellingham may unfairly push him further down the queue.
Levitt may still need to leave on loan to get the first team action he needs, but his task will be made easier if Bellingham is not there upon his return.
French talent Mejbri could become a real star. Signed from Monaco last summer for a third of the price it will cost to land Bellingham, he has made a big impression.
Within weeks he had made the step up at just 16 to playing under-23 football, and he has been a key part of the under-18s Youth Cup run to the semi-finals.
Mejbri will be pushing for the first team if he carries on his rapid progress.
First team places are limited though, as James Garner and Dylan Levitt have discovered. Mejbri will find it slightly easier if Bellingham is not here.
While not a strict like for like in terms of position, both youngsters are competing for limited midfield spots.
Bellingham is tipped to emerge as more of a box-to-box player as he gets older, and could end up battling Gomes.
Gomes, 19, has found the fight for first team minutes really frustrating so far in his short career.
How might he feel at seeing 16-year-old Bellingham coming straight in and getting a chance?
Not getting Bellingham might actually make Gomes more likely to sign, stay, and renew his contract.
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