Borussia Dortmund announced Monday that Jude Bellingham will complete his switch from Birmingham City at the end of the Championship season.
The 17-year-old midfielder will join Dortmund for a fee that could reportedly rise to €25 million (£22.75 million). Manchester United were also pursuing Bellingham.
“He already boasts astonishing quality with and without the ball, and has a strong mentality to boot,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. “Jude will immediately strengthen our first-team squad, but we will certainly give him all the time he needs to adapt to the higher level of play.”
A host of big European clubs tracked Bellingham while he made a name for himself in Birmingham’s academy and for England’s youth sides, but he and his family decided it was best for him to progress at his local club. He’s since become the youngest debutant and goalscorer in Birmingham’s history while making 43 competitive appearances for them.
Kristjaan Speakman, the academy manager at Birmingham, shared his ambitions for Bellingham with writer Michael Calvin when the player was a promising 13-year-old in the club’s youth setup.
“He has to have the clear head to play as a four, the box-to-box qualities of an eight, and the cleverness and creativity of a 10. He needs the challenge of taking on substantially bigger roles,” Speakman told Calvin for his book, “No Hunger in Paradise.”
“Combine those qualities, and you have the project to produce a world-class player.”
Bellingham has scored four goals and assisted twice in the 2019-20 Championship campaign. He will be available for the Blues’ final game of the season against Derby County.
“I can’t thank Birmingham City enough for what they have done for me – not just this season, but since the age of 7,” Bellingham said in Monday’s release. “Of course, I wish everyone associated with the club nothing but the best. Once a Blue, always a Blue.
“However, I’m incredibly excited to have joined one of the biggest clubs in Europe. The direction they are heading in and how much they help young players improve made it an easy decision for me personally and my family.”
Bellingham will link up with an impressive contingent of youngsters at the Westfalenstadion, including compatriot Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, and Giovanni Reyna.