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Jude Bellingham reluctant to join Manchester United as Red Devils target Birmingham starlet

The teenager has enjoyed a breakout season in the Championship (Picture: Rex Features) Manchester United are continuing their pursuit of Birmingham City starlet Jude Bellingham though the teenager is reportedly reluctant about moving to Old Trafford. Bellingham has enjoyed a breakout campaign in the Championship this season, making 24 appearances and scoring four times, while he has long been earmarked as a star of the future. The Premier League’s biggest clubs have all been keeping tabs on the 16-year-old, though Birmingham’s £25million asking price has so far kept any suitors at bay. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dispatched Mike Phelan to watch Bellingham (Picture: Getty) But, according to The Athletic, United are eager to beat their rivals to Bellingham and are working on a deal after sending assistant Mike Phelan to scout him in the flesh. The United assistant watched the teenager in action against West Brom in the middle of December – who played well despite being on the losing side – and talks with Birmingham have continued since then. However, United are unlikely to match the £25m asking price while Bellingham himself has reservations about moving to the Premier League at this stage of his career. More: Manchester United FCFrank Lampard defends Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over Marcus Rashford injurySolskjaer idenitifies two academy stars to replace Rashford and Pogba in Man Utd squadBoubakary Soumare responds to rumours he's set to join Chelsea this January He would likely play for United’s Under-23 squad and is reluctant to drop back into a youth set-up having already established himself in the first team at Birmingham playing senior football. Granted, he is only playing at Championship level, but Bellingham will need to be convinced that an immediate pathway into the United first team exists otherwise his preference is to continue gaining valuable pitch time and experience at Birmingham. Bellingham scored last time out in Birmingham’s draw against Cardiff City (Picture: Getty) Birmingham manager Pep Clotet hinted that Bellingham could stay at the club, telling reporters: ‘I do have the feeling Jude will stay. He is very happy here and he knows it’s one of the right steps for his progression. ‘He has played more than 20 games for us and that has a value because I am not the manager, in my position as head coach, it is difficult to evaluate.’ He added: ‘He has been watched since he was 13 or 14. For the Middlesbrough game, half of Europe was here. He is used to it. Jude is very focused on his job and I have never seen him distracted.’ MORE: Robin van Persie sends warning to Manchester United over Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood MORE: Manchester United fans order club to sign Edinson Cavani after striker hands in transfer request at PSG More: TVKevin Clifton is 'all over the place' with nerves before Strictly performancesI'm A Celeb's Charlotte Crosby and Ryan Gallagher 'hooking up away from cameras'Jennifer Aniston thinks it's 'sweet' that Brad Pitt stopped to watch her SAG Awards speech...


Published By: Metro - Monday, 20 January

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