Sunderland are interested in Birmingham City starlet Jobe Bellingham, the younger brother of Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
The younger Bellingham still plays for Birmingham City, where his sibling made also made his breakthrough. Dortmund agreed a fee that could rise beyond £30million to recruit Jude from St Andrew’s, and the Blues even retired the player’s number 22 shirt.
Jobe, 16, made his Championship debut against Preston in January and also played the final half-hour on the last day of the season against Blackburn Rovers.
An attacking midfielder who can also play out wide, he too has been linked with Dortmund.
The Daily Mail’s Craig Hope broke the transfer news on Monday as Sunderland ‘explore [an] ambitious move’ for Bellingham.
They apparently ‘invited’ the player and his family to the Stadium of Light for a ‘recent home game’.
Hope stresses that Sunderland will win have to win promotion to the Championship for the deal to be viable.
Bellingham’s first-team chances have been limited, but he’s underlined his potential at youth level.
He’s scored five goals in nine matches in the Under-18 Premier League, and that’s helped to earn him 13 appearances at Under-23 level, as well as eight caps for England’s U17s. (via Transfermarkt).
Tellingly, he’s already valued at £450,000 even though he’s still so young and has barely featured at the senior level.
Can Sunderland compete if top clubs like Dortmund are sniffing around too? Well, they may have a key advantage.
As Hope points out, sporting director Kristjaan Speakman was previously the academy director at Birmingham and enjoys a close relationship with the player’s parents – Mark and Denise Bellingham – given the role he played in Jude’s development.
Sunderland hope that this connection will be key.
In other news, The Black Cats risk losing this key figure.
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