When a certain tabloid reports that Manchester United have bid £30 million for a 16-year-old, fans can be forgiven for taking it with a pinch of salt. But when Sky Sports say they ‘can confirm’ the report, you tend to sit up and listen.
The Peoples Person has been tracking United’s pursuit of Birmingham City’s teen sensation Jude Bellingham since December, when Mike Phelan was seen scouting the player in City’s Championship clash with West Bromwich Albion.
Reports then broke that the Red Devils had lodged a £12.5 million bid for the youngster, with Birmingham reportedly slapping a prohibitive £25 million price tag on him.
But now it would seem the stakes are even higher, if Sky Sports and co. are to be believed.
In fairness, neither source has attempted to break down the figure into cash plus bonuses. In the case of a 16-year-old, the add-ons element of a bid could be significant as there would be many years for the player to meet the bonus objectives.
It could even be possible that United have made a fixed bid of £12.5 million which could rise to £30 million depending on medals won at United, games played and England caps, for example.
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Birmingham remain reluctant to sell, but their financial plight may force their hand. The club were docked nine points last season for violating profit and sustainability rules.
Even if a deal could be reached between the two clubs, it is unclear whether the player himself would agree to a move at this stage. He is likely to want to continue playing first team football and may not be ready to leave his home club.
In fact, the Stourbridge-born starlet appeared to shout “I’m f—ing staying here!” during a recent goal celebration. Telling; but then again, history tells us of another incredible teenage sensation who once wore an undershirt saying ‘Once a Blue, always a Blue’, before signing for the Red Devils shortly afterward.