In the summer, the discussion around Jude Bellingham of Birmingham City had become deafening. The youngster had already reached a level, in his debut season, of looking too good for his boyhood club. Coming through the Blues academy, Bellingham has been in and around the first-team for over a season. Massively impressive performances home and away played a role in the Blues moving up the rankings and eventually staying up in a topsy, turbulent season.
However, after a summer of potential moves, the young Englishman landed in Germany. Making the move to Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham was seen as the next in line on the BVB talent train. Building the most talented creche in the world, Dortmund is not home to some of the best young players in the world – and Bellingham has already forced a starting place in the first-team.
He played well against FC Bayern Munich in a 3-2 home defeat and has so far looked immensely composed in his games at Westfalenstadion. Showing an increasingly diverse passing range and a surprisingly pleasing physical application, Bellingham has caught the eye of many. Despite costing in excess of €20m in the summer, the youngster could easily move for triple that as soon as January – assuming BVB were willing to sell.
As a team with a hawk-eye for talent at formative level, though, they know how good the player is. And now, with a senior England call-up confirmed, so shall all of England.
Jude Bellingham: The most interesting young player in the world?
Football has a habit of talent appearing younger and younger today; so young that even youth talents can seem like veterans. Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool and Bellingham’s teammate, Jadon Sancho, are two fine examples of this. They have been forming at an elite level for two, three seasons now; it is easy to need to remind ourselves of their immense rise despite their young age.
Bellingham, though, has a rare blend of attributes and qualities that makes him one of the most exciting players in the world. Talented on the ball and skilful, too, this is a young player who looks as comfortable gliding with the ball past players as he does dropping a shoulder and using his power to get past them. His shooting can be both filled with venom and peppered with precision.
So is his passing. Add in a tactical nous that means he has already slotted in several systems and positions in Germany – a language he is still learning – and it is easy to see why scouts were salivating over Bellingham from a young age.
It is rare that a player can come along with a happy mixture of skill, technique, physical quality, and mental application. Bellingham ticks every box that you would want to tick for a young player, and easily looks to be one of the most exciting talents in the world. Who knows what the limit is for one so young?
One thing is for sure: his transfer fee for Dortmund, derided as ‘excessive’ in the summer, now looks an absolute bargain.