Exclusive - Manchester United remain confident they will win the race to sign Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham this summer, and are also interested in bringing his younger brother Jobe to the club.
Borussia Dortmund and United have been the two clubs leading the pursuit of the former - a breakout star in the Championship over the last year - with no decision made by the player yet over where he will play his football next season.
The Bellingham family are analysing options at present, but a source has told 90min that United believe the deal is effectively sealed. A number of senior figures at Old Trafford gave the family a tour of the club's facilities a number of weeks ago, though a proposal from the German outfit also sits on the table.
The progress of another United target, Jadon Sancho, since his arrival in the Bundesliga has proven a path to top level football for young players is very real, and the prospect of following in his footsteps still appeals to the family.
United remain on the charm offensive, though. They see Jude as the best 16-year-old footballer on the planet and, as reported elsewhere in the last week, are ready to offer Bellingham a spot in the first team squad as soon as he joins them.
They are particularly impressed by his skillset. In a modern football world where most midfielders will be placed into attacking, advanced, deep-lying or defensive sub-roles, United see Bellingham as an all-rounder - able to play in a two or three man midfield, able to hold, dictate play or bring the ball into the final third, similar perhaps to the likes of a Roy Keane or Paul Ince. He also carries a goal threat.
The fact that Bellingham has already not only completed, but excelled, over the course of a near-full season in the Championship has convinced United he's able to adjust to the top flight quickly.
United's decision to keep senior midfielders such as Nemanja Matic at the club may have been made with the likes of Bellingham in mind - a short-term solution for the squad but one able to share his experience with a player who could take his place in the first team over the next few years.
The club are looking to add a British core - as seen with last summer's signings of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James - and their three main targets for this summer are all English too, with the likes of aforementioned Bellingham and Sancho, as well as Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, each on their radar.
Congrats bro, proud always!!?? pic.twitter.com/0wsibPpuPL— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) December 15, 2019
Bellingham's brother, Jobe, has recently turned 15, and has also caught United's eye. Jobe plays in the Birmingham academy and has represented England at youth level too, and while perhaps yet to hit the same standard as Jude at this age, he is of the potential to join United's ranks.
Birmingham are ready to sell Jude for the right price when the transfer window reopens, but are also prepared to consider a deal for Jobe, or perhaps give United a first-refusal option on him. Were a deal to be completed this summer it could mean the Bellingham family move to Manchester.
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Source : 90min