Borussia Dortmund, Clubs, English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Manchester United, Story, Transfers

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Borussia Dortmund are closing in on Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham and look set to beat Manchester United to the teenager, sources have told ESPN.

Bellingham, 16, has been on Dortmund’s radar for a long time and he visited the club’s training facilities recently, sources told ESPN.

The club are confident they can land the youngster and beat Manchester United and other top clubs to the midfielder’s signature, with sources telling ESPN and local Dortmund outlet Ruhr Nachrichten that terms with the player have been agreed.

ESPN reported in January how United wanted to sign Bellingham but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not manage to seal a deal in the transfer window.

The Birmingham midfielder has also been linked with Bayern Munich, but sources told ESPN the German giants dropped out of the race for the England youth international last month.

Bellingham has made 31 Championship appearances and scored four goals since his debut in August 2019. The central midfielder can also play on the wing.

A report in Sport Bild has said that Dortmund are willing to spend €35 million on him, which would make him the club’s record signing. Dortmund did not comment on the rumours when contacted by ESPN last week, but sources have said the club are likely to agree a training compensation fee for Bellingham, just how they did with Jadon Sancho when he joined from Manchester City in 2018. At the time, BVB reportedly paid €7m but the compensation is likely to be higher this time, although not in the region of €35m.

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Over the past few years, the club has gained a reputation for introducing potential future stars to the highest level of European football, the Champions League, by giving them regular Bundesliga experience.

United States international Christian Pulisic joined BVB at the age of 16 and left for Chelsea last summer. Sancho and Erling Haaland, both 19, as well as 17-year-old Giovanni Reyna are key figures as the club push for their 11th consecutive year in a European competition. Haaland was wanted by United in January but opted for Dortmund instead. 

United, meanwhile, remain interested in Sancho, but Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has said the player is happy in Germany.

“I think he has the feeling that the club does have a good future,” Watzke told BBC Sport.

“In my opinion, I don’t think he wants to leave.”

Sources have told ESPN that United expect Chelsea and a host of top European sides to also be in the running for Sancho. The issue then becomes whether they can convince one of the best young players in the world that Old Trafford is the place to reach his potential. 

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