Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is often shy when it comes to commenting on the opposition players or coach; however, when the Spaniard was asked about Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham before the Champions League clash, he couldn’t help but express his affection for the 19-year-old midfielder.
“Dortmund is a perfect place for the young talented players to come. Maybe if Jude Bellingham had gone to City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham, the top teams in England, maybe he could not get the minutes that he has had and the best thing for a young player to be a better player is to play minutes,” Guardiola said.
“I said when he was 17, it wasn’t just the quality, it was about he was shouting, leading, kicking, and going to the referee. I thought this guy was something special in terms of the mentality. Now, at 19 years old, he is already one the captains of the team, and when that happens at 19 years old it is quite impressive.
“The quality and skills, everyone knows it, but it’s not just about that. It’s about the whole package. He’s really good. He’s already in the national team playing with them at 19. That is quite impressive. We know the quality he has but we will try to impose our quality on the game and win the game.”
The Ideal Addition To Guardiola’s Squad?
Having come through the ranks at Birmingham, Jude Bellingham signed for Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2020 for a fee in the region of £22.5. Over the course of the last three years, the 19-year-old midfielder has made 108 appearances for the Black and Yellows, scoring eighteen goals and assisting twenty more across all competitions.
Even this season, he has managed to put up some awe-inspiring numbers on the board, averaging 2.7 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, one clearance, 2.5 shots, one key pass, 2.5 dribbles, and 3.5 long balls per ninety minutes in the German top-flight. Already an established figure at the heart of Dortmund’s defence at the age of 19, it goes without saying that Bellingham is headed towards the very top.
Manchester City’s squad might be the best in Europe; however, they lack in quantity when it comes to midfield. Kevin De Bruyne turns 32 next year, while Ilkay Gundogan’s contract expires in 2023. Kalvin Phillips has been riddled with injuries so far and Bernardo Silva has been looking for an opportunity to play in Spain for the last couple of years.
Combining all the factors, it’s likely that Manchester City will have to recruit a new midfielder next summer – and Bellingham fits the bill perfectly. There’s little to no competition for the 17-times England international as Real Madrid have already spent a fortune on Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni, while Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Barcelona are unlikely to have the cash to pull off the move.
(Stats from WhoScored)