What should we make of United's reported £30m Bellingham bid?

Manchester United’s links with Birmingham youngster Jude Bellingham are moving at a fast pace.

The Sun report United have offered a staggering £30 million to sign the 16-year-old, who they describe as ‘England’s most exciting young talent since Wayne Rooney’.

Remarkably this reported offer – also claimed by Sky Sports – has not got the job done yet. Birmingham are anticipating a battle for his services and hope for other offers.

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£30 million is a high price for a 16-year-old kid. But there is a drive currently to pay big fees for players at a young age. It’s not new, but it’s happening more frequently.

Liverpool are expected to pay over £10 million at tribunal for Harvey Elliott, 16, who they signed in the summer and United spent £9 million on Hannibal Mejbri. He looks special and worth the money.

Real Madrid have just spent £30 million on 18-year-old Reinier Jesus from Brazil and famously paid £38.7 million for Vinicius Jr, a deal agreed when he was only 17.

There is a drive to pay big for the very best youth players in football and Bellingham is standing out as a top talent.

Complicating matters, The Times report, is Birmingham’s aim that Bellingham is loaned back for 18 months.

United assistant Mike Phelan is said to have scouted Bellingham, The Express report, and is driving United’s interest in the midfielder, who is already a regular in the Championship.

Bellingham has made 25 appearances in a range of midfield positions this season, including 19 starts, scoring four goals and providing one assist. It’s an impressive record for a player who is just 16.

United paid £27 million to sign Wayne Rooney back in 2004, but he was 18 and already an established England international.

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Risky move will be heavily incentivised

United’s activity this transfer window has been odd. It’s great to see the club aggressively pursuing a top, top talent. But it is strange the first team recruitment has not been as gung-ho.

The £30 million fee – if it just that – will hang over Bellingham if he moves to United, but there is no chance the club are offering that up front.

United’s offer will be heavily incentivised, knowing how the club operate, likely with a clause to be paid if Bellingham one day wins the Ballon d’Or.

That’s why the proposed £30 million can’t really be compared with any bids which are and aren’t made for the likes of Bruno Fernandes, who would improve the first team right away.

There would have to be some negotiation with Birmingham with regard to a loan. It’s sensible for him to spend the rest of the season at St Andrew’s, but if United are committing to paying £30 million for him, it is likely they will want him to be at Old Trafford from next season onwards.

This is a very interesting move to watch, and at this stage, there’s no guarantee United even get it done.

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