Pep Guardiola says Germany has been good for ‘whole package’ Jude Bellingham
Manchester City will not hold any ill feeling towards Jude Bellingham over his decision to turn down a move to the Premier League champions in favour of sealing a summer transfer Real Madrid. Reports suggest the Borussia Dortmund starlet has finally made his decision on his future and will complete a move to the Spanish capital this summer, ending Man City and Liverpool’s chances of landing the midfielder.
The England international is set to snub a return to the UK after reportedly agreeing personal terms on a long-term contract with Madrid, following talks with the Spanish club at the start of May.
Bellingham is said to have informed the club of his decision through talks with chief scout Juni Calafat, the man who unearthed gems such as Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.
But according to 90Min, there is no ‘bad blood’ from City’s viewpoint aimed towards Bellingham. The report claims they were told of his choice during long talks with his representatives and they explained it was a matter of ‘preference and career mapping’.
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That would suggest that there is some belief within City that Bellingham could return to England later in his career, and by maintaining good relations with the player, the door to the Etihad Stadium has not been entirely closed.
Dortmund were also told of Bellingham’s decision, having offered him the highest salary in the club’s history to renew his deal with the promise of a move in 2024. However, the player already had his sights set on a lucrative move to Spain and expressed his wish to push through a deal, which is likely to exceed £100m – making him the most expensive player in Real’s history.
The 19-year-old has been a huge success in Germany since his £25million switch from Birmingham in July 2020, having left his boyhood club at the age of 16 to join the Black Yellow.
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On that occasion, Bellingham rejected offers from both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea to head to the Bundesliga.
His mature performances for both club and country suggest he is ready for the pressure at playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, even if competition for places at Madrid is already rife.
Carlo Ancelotti has the luxury of choosing from Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga for his three midfield spots. But with Modric and Kroos approaching the end of their careers, and Camavinga impressing at left-back, Bellingham is seen as the natural heir to the iconic pair.
It means Pep Guardiola may have to turn his attention elsewhere in order to recruit a world-class replacement for Ilkay Gundogan, who is expected to depart on a free transfer with Barcelona keen.
Chelsea stars Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic have been linked with a cut-price move to the Etihad as their contracts are due to expire in 2024, while Guardiola could consider promoting Argentinian wonderkid Maximo Perrone – an £8m signing from Velez Sarsfield in January – to a more prominent role in the squad.
“He arrived from our scout, Joan Patsy in South America. He always advises me on Gabriel [Jesus], Julian [Alvarez], now for Maximo,” Guardiola said of Perrone after making his senior debut in February. “He’s a guy who’s quicker here [in his head] than the legs. He moves really well in the pockets, he has a lot of vision there.
“Since the first or second training session after he arrived I had some clips and information, but honestly, I didn’t know him and the players didn’t know him. We thought ‘wow he moves well’, his individual quality is really there.”
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