Football News

“We thought we had him” – Man Utd legend Bryan Robson reveals Jude Bellingham talks in 2020

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:17, 20 September 2022

Manchester United thought they had secured a deal to sign Jude Bellingham after positive talks in 2020, club legend Bryan Robson has revealed.

Bellingham is currently one of the best young midfielders in world football, starring for both Borussia Dortmund and England. In the Bundesliga this season, the teenager has completed 109 passes in the final third, the second-highest number in the division behind only Joshua Kimmich. He has also had 537 touches of the ball (the sixth-most in the Bundesliga but second for a midfielder), completed more take-ons than any other player (21) and made 20 tackles – the fourth most in the league.

In the Champions League, Bellingham has flexed his attacking muscles slightly more with two goals in two matches, scoring against both FC Copenhagen and Manchester City and helping his side stand firm against the latter only losing to two wonderful strikes from John Stones and Erling Haaland.

There are calls for Gareth Southgate to make Bellingham one of his guaranteed starters for England at the World Cup this winter, part of a more controlling and attacking midfield alongside the holding Declan Rice. And there is also a lot of interest surrounding Bellingham’s future, with the Englishman linked heavily with a return to England, Liverpool being the favoured destination.

Jude Bellingham transfer specials: To sign for before 3rd February 2023  Sky Bet
Liverpool 7/1
Manchester City 8/1
Manchester United 12/1
Chelsea 16/1
Arsenal 20/1
Newcastle United 25/1
Tottenham Hotspur 25/1
You have to be 18+ to gamble. UK only. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (13:15, 20/09/2022). Be Gamble Aware.

However, things could have been so much different. Dortmund signed Bellingham from Birmingham City in 2020, a departure that led to the Midlands club retiring his No.22 shirt, in homage to the journey he had in becoming their youngest-ever player and goalscorer.

That summer a lot of teams were chasing Bellingham’s signature too, including clubs in England and Manchester United were one of them. According to club legend Robson, the Red Devils even had talks with Jude and his family, and felt they had a deal agreed only to see him join Dortmund.

“Unfortunately for us he decided to move to Germany,” Robson told The Sun.

“We thought we more or less had him. Myself, Sir Alex and Eric Cantona all met him with his mum and dad at Carrington and after that meeting we thought he was coming to us.

Sky Bet welcome offer: How to get £20 in free bets

It's a good time to sign up to Sky Bet. Qualifying readers* will get £20 in free bets when staking just £5. You can follow THIS LINK to claim or click the image below. 

*New customers only. First single & E/W bet only. £5 minimum stake. 4x £5 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Minimum odds of qualifying bet 1/1 or greater. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are not withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further Ts&Cs apply. 18+ only.

“Now there is talk about him moving next summer and you see Liverpool mentioned a lot. We thought we had him and he would have been a great signing for us. But he definitely has it in him to become a great player for England.”

Robson also spoke of Bellingham’s place in the England squad and a potential partnership alongside Rice, which many fans are dreaming of.

“Declan Rice is a given as an England holding midfielder — he’s so solid and reliable. Depending on how Gareth Southgate wants to play, Bellingham could have a role alongside him,” he added.

“What’s sure is that Gareth has had Bellingham on his radar for some time now — he started playing him when he was still 17. Now he’s got 15 caps and we have the two games coming up against Italy and Germany.

“It would be natural to think that Gareth will maintain that progress with him heading into the finals.”



Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..


Newsletter error