Next summer’s transfer window will undoubtedly be all about Jude Bellingham. He is one of the best young footballers in the world, and his reputation will only improve if he gets the spotlight he deserves at the 2017 World Cup.
Though a strong performance at a major international event might increase a player’s market value, a winter World Cup makes it unlikely that any transfers will take place during the January transfer window.
Since any growing star will still need to maintain their level of play until the end of the campaign, rather than moving on the back of the tournament, this implies fewer impulse buys on the strength of national team prominence this season.
Even if Bellingham doesn’t have a breakout World Cup, he’ll still be at the top of many clubs’ transfer wish lists for the upcoming offseason. At this point, it’s virtually guaranteed that he’ll be playing for Manchester United.
This summer, Erik ten Hag hoped to sign a progressive central midfielder but was unable to do so since Frenkie de Jong made it obvious that he had no intention of leaving Barcelona. After struggling in the first two games of the season as a false nine and a holding midfielder, Christian Eriksen was repurposed as a No. 8 and has excelled in the position.
Not our best but a step in the right direction. Always an honour. pic.twitter.com/MkNYibhTWf
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) September 26, 2022
Eriksen, 30 years old, has been phenomenal after switching positions against Liverpool in the third game of the season. However, a longer-term solution in that role is still needed and desired despite his good performance. Bellingham obviously qualifies for that post, and his abilities are so obvious that every top team in Europe would be interested if he became available.
It is believed that Liverpool is in the lead to signing him, as the club has identified the signing of a top-tier central midfielder as a top priority for the upcoming season. Man City might be interested as well, considering they have considered trading Bernardo Silva and will soon need to start planning for the future without club captain Ilkay Gundogan.
Alternatively, there’s Real Madrid. They have a history of pursuing the most prominent players in international sport, and if the 19-year-old succeeds at the World Cup, that trend might be accelerated. La Liga’s heavy hitters were left disappointed by their inability to sign Erling Haaland this summer, so they won’t want to let Dortmund get their hands on the next promising young player.
If United wants to sign the English teenager, they’ll have to beat out the stiff competition. Even if their current prospects of getting his signature are low, there are a few things they must have in place.
Bellingham turned down a move to Old Trafford two years ago in favor of a move to Dortmund, where he would have had a more defined path to improvement and would have been guaranteed more playing time. The Birmingham-born midfielder’s decision to leave certainly paid off, therefore United will need to provide their own clear pathway and promises about his role in the squad if they want to land him next season.
Providing the English star with a detailed strategy for the club’s future under Ten Hag and convincing him that the organization fully supports his management vision would also be an important part of the pitch.
This season’s performance will be crucial, and if United can keep improving and putting on spectacular displays, they could become a more desirable option for players next year.
Success this season is also important so United can offer Champions League football to new players for the upcoming season. Despite his young age, Bellingham is no stranger to the biggest stage in European football and has every right to insist on remaining there if his current play continues.
Ten Hag will need to present a compelling case for a meaningful title campaign in the Premier League, as most clubs competing for his signature will be gunning for championships in their own leagues.
Although it may seem unlikely, United must return to those levels if they are to restore their status as the premier team for up-and-coming players and compete for the title of finest team in England once again.
In all honesty, Bellingham was only nine years old when United last won the Premier League. It is Ten Hag’s job to make them feel like the same elite super club that their fans were accustomed to so that they can attract and retain the best players of the future.