It is reported that Arsenal, known for missing out on marquee signings over the years, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, made their move for Bellingham when he was playing at the U14 level. In their pursuit, the Gunners were ready to part with a compensation package of £500,000 to secure the young talent. However, an "unforeseen delay" is said to have foiled their plans, with Bellingham eventually committing his future to Birmingham.
Meanwhile, Manchester United, always on the lookout for promising talents, had their sights set on Bellingham as well. A sporting director at the club explained, "The problem wasn't seeing the talent with Jude. The problem was signing him; we were all told he was going to Manchester United."
The Red Devils reportedly assured Bellingham and his father of fast-tracking the youngster into their first-team squad. However, concerns arose regarding the development of a professional pathway at Old Trafford.
Jude Bellingham eventually made his senior debut for Birmingham City at the tender age of 16. Following an impactful stint with the club, he made a high-profile move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020.
Now, in the summer of 2023, he has ascended to even greater heights, with Real Madrid securing his services for a substantial fee of €103 million (£90m/$109m).
The saga of the near-missed opportunity highlights the unpredictability and uncertainties that often surround football transfers, leaving Arsenal to rue a moment in time when they could have secured one of England's brightest talents for a fraction of his current value.">