Erik ten Hag is ‘helping’ Manchester United do all they can to enter Jude Bellingham transfer race

October 17, 2022

On a Champions League matchday, a Jude Bellingham goal is as commonplace as the Champions League theme song before the game.

The England international scored for the fourth consecutive Champions League game on Tuesday night, scoring Borussia Dortmund’s equalizer in their 1-1 draw with Sevilla. The player will have ambitions to shine the brightest on the international stage at the World Cup in Qatar next month. It made sure he kept up his streak of scoring in every Champions League game played so far this season.

It means that only three players have scored more than Bellingham in the competition so far this term, with his four goals matching the likes of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe and Leroy Sane of Bayern Munich. Only Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah and Robert Lewandowski have scored more.

So it comes as no surprise that Manchester United fans continue to swoon over his talent and daydream about the possibility of him donning the fabled red shirt in the future. Of course, Bellingham made his infamous trip to Carrington in March 2020 to speak with United about the possibility of relocating to Old Trafford. However, Bellingham ultimately made the decision to join Dortmund instead, signing a £25 million transfer from Birmingham City a few months later.

Since arriving in Germany a little over two years ago, the 19-year-old’s game has developed at an alarming rate, meaning he has firmly established himself as one of the most coveted, exciting youngsters in world football. After ending his first season in Germany with eight direct goal contributions to his name – scoring four goals and grabbing four assists – he went up through the gears last season, netting six goals and grabbing 14 assists.

This season, already, he has five goals and two assists in just 14 games. Considering he arrived at Dortmund as a defensive-minded midfielder, his ever-improving numbers are a result of him developing his game. He is proactive and forward-thinking, as proven by his goal against Sevilla, which came as a result of him spreading the ball out wide, continuing his run and getting into the penalty area for the eventual cross.

Considering United manager Erik ten Hag has consistently drilled the idea of being proactive, forward-thinking and posᎥtive into his players since arriving at the club during the summer, Bellingham would be just the ticket to strengthen his midfield options at some point in the future. But such is the rapid growth the former Birmingham man is showing, United, if they are to ever rekindle a firm interest in him, will face strict competition from some of football’s leading lights, such as Manchester City and Real Madrid.

Not only have City and Madrid enjoyed far more success in recent years, each consistently winning trophies, they have also been ever-present figures in the Champions League. That added bonus, of course, is something that was missing from United’s sales pitches to their new intake of signings during the summer, having been demoted to Europa League football this season after a dᎥsastrous 2021/22 Premier League campaign.

United, though, are already doing all they can to give themselves the best chance of playing in Europe on Tuesdays and Wednesdays next season, as opposed to being forced to wait until Thursday nights. The Reds, despite continuing to experience the odd bump in the road, are fifth in the Premier League table and just a point shy of the Champions League places. Just eight games into the Ten Hag era it is fair to say they are making progress, perhaps quicker than expected.

Sunday’s win over Everton felt like it could be a significant moment in their season; United had to show numerous qualities, both physically and mentally, to scoop all three points. It was a polished performance and a big step in the right direction.

If they are dreaming of playing Champions League football again next season, and perhaps planning to throw their name into the ring in the fᎥght for Bellingham’s signature, they need to continue in the same vein, avoiding any repeats of what recently happened at the Etihad Stadium. Such is Bellingham’s current form and the excitement surrounding him, he will not entertain any club that can’t offer him Champions League football.

He is not believed to be a player United are currently running the rule over, but things can quickly change in football. A return to the Champions League next season, however, will be the minimum requirement the Reds need to stand any chance of making their fans’ dreams become a reality.