Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has downplayed losing out to Borussia Dortmund for the signature of Jude Bellingham. After months of speculation, it was confirmed this week that Bellingham would be taking his talents to the Bundesliga after an impressive breakthrough season with Birmingham.
United had been strongly interested in Bellingham, making a £30million offer and inviting him to their Carrington training ground, where he met Sir Alex Ferguson.
But their efforts were not enough to persuade Bellingham, who has become the world’s most expensive 17-year-old.
Should Bellingham continue his upwards trajectory, United face paying a hefty fee to bring him back to English football.
However, Solskjaer has put on a brave face and insisted he has confidence United’s academy can produce a player even better than Bellingham.
“Now is not the time to talk about transfers but I think everyone can see what we do with young players, we’re getting our own players through, we’re giving them a chance and we’re trying to recruit players who’d add to our current squad, either as an X-Factor straight into the team or an X-Factor kid, so that recruitment process is going all the time,” he said.
“We’ll always look to our Academy and give the kids a chance because the Academy is fantastic, we educate players but also human beings.
“If we lose out on one, we’ll produce a better one.”
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Speaking after completing the move, Bellingham insisted picking Dortmund over rival suitors was an ‘easy decision’.
“I’m incredibly excited to have joined one of Europe’s biggest clubs,” he said.
“The direction they are heading in and how much they help to improve young players made it an easy decision for myself and my family.
“I can’t wait to perform in front of all the fans when they are back inside one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world.”
Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc added: “Jude Bellingham confidently chose BVB and, of course, was primarily concerned with the sporting perspective that we showed him.
“He has enormous potential that we want to develop with him in the coming years.
“He already has a surprising amount of quality in his own possession as well as against the ball, and on top of that, the player also has a strong mentality.
“We immediately see Jude as a reinforcement for our professional squad, but of course we will also give him the time to get used to the higher level.”
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