Borussia Dortmund starlet Jude Bellingham has once again justified why he is contention to be named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championships.
The central-midfielder, who joined Dortmund from Birmingham City last summer, has tonight scored during the second-leg of Dortmund’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final with Manchester City at the Signal Iduna Park.
The Three Lions ace netted his first Champions League goal from just inside the penalty area, curling home a lovely right-footed effort, to put Dortmund ahead on the night and bring them level on aggregate.
It will have been a bittersweet moment for the 17-year-old after he saw a legitimately good goal chalked off during Dortmund’s 2-1 defeat to City in the first-leg at the Etihad Stadium last Tuesday evening.
It has once again proven that Dortmund, who have not shied away from signing young English talent previously, were bang on the money to sign the youngster for £25million, despite him having never played above England’s second-tier.
His debut season in Germany has caught the eye of almost everyone in Europe, leaving many Premier League clubs no doubt wishing they had acted to sign the box-to-box midfield starlet.
And one of those clubs could well be Arsenal, who return to UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening when they face Slavia Prague in the second-leg of their quarter-final.
Former Gunners defender Tony Adams revealed last year that Bellingham could have joined the Gunners prior to joining Dortmund but Arsenal did not pursue a move for him because they ‘didn’t know anything about him.’
“I think it got lost, this one, in the transition of the chief scout [Steve Morrow] at Arsenal going out,” Adams said back in November, speaking to Sky Sports.
“He was spotted very early on, not by me, by the Arsenal recruitment office. The chief scout was absolutely bowled over by him and the great prospect that he is.
“He had more or less done the deal, but at that moment the new sporting director Edu came in from Brazil and had no European experience and no UK experience.
“I think it got lost in the transition, Edu didn’t know anything about this player.”
Although Bellingham has blossomed in Dortmund colours this season, scoring three goals in 39 appearances, including his strike against City on Wednesday evening, Adams felt that he would have been better off joining Arsenal opposed to testing himself abroad.
Adams added: “Unfortunately, the chief scout had the deal kind of done – we missed that one unfortunately.
“They are the type of players we need to get hold of at the Arsenal if we’re ever going to develop and go forward.
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“These kind of players we need to tie up, get them to the Arsenal and build a phenomenal league team. He’s a great talent but unfortunately he’s not joined the right club.”
Arsenal, however, are looking to become a club that builds its future around young, exciting talent. Gabriel Martinelli is very highly regarded at those at the Emirates Stadium and fellow youngster Folarin Balogun is on the cusp of committing his future to the club.
As well as that, the Gunners have recently been linked with a summer move for Brazilian midfielder Matheus Martinelli, who is currently on the books of Fluminense.