Jude Bellingham: Real Madrid close to completing deal for Manchester United target

Birmingham City's Jude Bellingham takes a walk around the pitch before the match.

Manchester United have been monitoring Jude Bellingham ever since his Birmingham days Action Images/Craig Brough.

Real Madrid are close to securing the services of Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, as per multiple reports.

The English midfielder has been on the radar of Europe’s biggest clubs ever since breaking into the first-team squad at Birmingham City. At the age of 16, he regularly featured for the Blues in the Championship.

Manchester United, then led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, were among the early suitors and even gave the midfielder and his family a Carrington tour in the attempt to convince him to move to Old Trafford.

Bellingham picked Borussia Dortmund over Manchester United in 2020

But Borussia Dortmund were able to present a more reasonable development plan for Bellingham. At 17, he decided to follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho and moved to Bundesliga following the promise of guaranteed playing time in one of Europe’s biggest leagues. The luxury that was simply not possible for the likes of United, Chelsea or any other giant club to offer.

The England international quickly established himself as one of Dortmund’s leaders, attracting interest from Real Madrid and Liverpool in the process. In April, it was confirmed that Liverpool are not in a financial position to go all out for Bellingham, whose exit fee this summer will be north of £100m.

Since then, Real have been in the driving seat, and it’s now believed they are close to signing the player. Negotiations are progressing to the final stages and personal terms are ‘almost agreed’, as per Fabrizio Romano. He added that Juni Calafat has been ‘crucial again’ in Real’s pursuit.

Calafat is the Spanish outfit’s chief scout, and has been an influential figure in Real’s strategy of signing the best young talents in world football, helping the club to bring Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Eder Militao, and Endrick to Santiago Bernabeu.