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Pep Clotet Says Jude Bellingham Focused on Birmingham Amid Man United Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2020

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25:  Jude Bellingham of Birmingham City during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Coventry City and Birmingham City at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet has said Jude Bellingham is focused on his club amid continued speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United.

The 16-year-old has starred in the Championship this term and has been linked with a high-profile move at the end of the campaign. However, Clotet has said he doesn't think the teenager's mind is on a transfer.

"I always thought he is very mature and very focused—but he has to be," he said, per Sacha Pisani of Goal. "Because he cannot be thinking about other things than Birmingham City—and I am sure he is only thinking about Birmingham City. That's the feeling I get from him when I speak to him and work with him."

United have been linked with a move for the youngster throughout the 2019-20 season.

According to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian, the player's parents recently met with Red Devils executives after the midfielder was given permission to start talks over a possible transfer. Interest from "numerous clubs" is mentioned, including Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham's contract with Birmingham is poised to expire at the end of next season, meaning it's likely the Championship team will cash in on him this summer.

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The youngster made his debut for Birmingham in August, becoming the club's youngest-ever player. Overall, he's made 35 appearances in all competitions, grabbing four goals in the process.

One of those came earlier in the campaign away at Charlton Athletic:

Sky Bet Championship @SkyBetChamp

1️⃣6️⃣ Bellingham closing in... #EFL | @BCFC https://t.co/ndJFZKF7Bs

In his fledgling career, the midfielder's elegance on the ball, physicality and awareness have been his standout qualities. However, there's also a tenacious side to his game that will impress any club keeping tabs on him.

Per WhoScored.com, while Bellingham may only be 16, he is not one to shirk a tackle:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Only two players to have played at least 2000 minutes of Championship football this season have averaged more tackles per 90 minutes than Jude Bellingham (3.2) The 16-year-old midfielder is reportedly following in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho with a move to Borussia Dortmund https://t.co/3Q1O2dQ1QL

With that in mind, it's not a shock to see so many high-profile clubs in the race for the 16-year-old. 

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette believes the midfielder is talented enough to be worth a significant investment from the Old Trafford outfit:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

When you think what Sancho has done at BVB, & how his value has gone through the roof, paying a sizeable fee for Bellingham now makes complete sense. This isn't a risk for #MUFC. Pay now & loan him back to Birmingham. Everyone is happy. But dont blink, all the top sides want him.

After the big-money signing of Bruno Fernandes in January, competition in midfield is fierce at United, especially with Paul Pogba set to come back into the side after recovering from injury. As such, if Bellingham wants to continue playing football regularly, a switch to Dortmund may make more sense.

However, it appears United are leading the race for the Birmingham tyro. All the indications are that he would be a smart addition to what is an exciting young squad at Old Trafford.

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