Borussia Dortmund have finally signed 17-year-old Englishman Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City of the EFL Championship, BILD reports. BVB will pay Birmingham City a training compensation fee of €23 million and will sign Bellingham to a five-year contract worth €3 million a year according to BILD. Not bad for someone that just turned 17-years old.
Bellingham had long been rumored to being signed by Dortmund since before the COVID-19 pause, I believe. Dortmund had to fight off teams like Manchester United and Bayern Munich for the player’s signature, but the English youth had his sights set on playing in Signal Iduna Park. And when you think about the meteoric rise of youngsters Ousmane Dembélé, Achraf Hakimi, Julian Brandt, Gio Reyna, Erling Haaland, and fellow Englishman Jadon Sancho thanks to BVB compared to that of Manchester United, could it have been an easier choice?
A member of Birmingham City’s youth system since he was nine, Bellingham made his first-team debut in August 2019 against Portsmouth in the EFL Cup, and soon made his league debut against Swansea City. He made a total of 35 appearances for the Blues and scored four goals with three assists, mostly from central midfield with some spells out on the wings.
His play-style has been described by FTW contributor and resident Brit Paul Johnson, which you can hear in our next podcast episode (release date TBD), as a box-to-box midfielder that can possess the ball in tight spaces and advance the ball up-field with speed and footwork. He’s also not afraid to get physical, earning fouls while using his strength to bully people off the ball.
Bellingham will join a very crowded Dortmund central midfield with Axel Witsel, Emre Can, Julian Brandt, Mahmoud Dahoud, Thomas Delaney, and fellow Dortmund youngster Tobias Raschl. I could see him earning some very hard-fought minutes subbing on for Witsel or Can late in matches with the occasional start should he show first-team form. Dortmund could be forced to sell a few of the central midfielders (cough cough Delaney and Dahoud cough cough) due to a lack of minutes for everyone and to help balance the books should Sancho end up staying here.
This marks the second of two players making moves to Dortmund this summer. On June 25, Belgian right back Thomas Meunier moved on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain and signed a four-year deal.