Birmingham City and England legend Trevor Francis says that any deal to sign Jude Bellingham must include a stipulation that he is loaned back to the Blues next season.
The 16-year-old prodigy is one of Manchester United’s top transfer targets this summer and is valued at around £30 million by Birmingham, despite his tender age.
However, this has not put off the Red Devils or Borussia Dortmund from pursuing his signature.
United’s negotiators will be hoping that a deal can be struck with the Midlands club that has a lower base fee and lucrative add-ons, which could involve bonuses for Premier League titles, Champions League titles, England caps, reaching a certain number of appearances for United and potentially a sell-on percentage.
But Francis claims there should be one extra clause.
‘Wherever Jude Bellingham goes I think he should have it written in the contract that he immediately goes back to Birmingham City to play as a loan player because he has got to improve and the only way he is going to improve is by playing regularly’ he told The Birmingham Mail.
‘To go to Manchester United or Chelsea or wherever it may be, with respect to the lad he is not going to be a regular in the first team and he needs to be playing regular first team football to improve as a footballer’.
It is not the first time that playing time has been raised as an issue in the Bellingham transfer, with The Evening Standard recently reporting that the Red Devils would be willing to put the youngster straight into the first team.
And Francis, who also made his debut for the Blues aged 16, believes that the Stourbridge-born starlet has what it takes to do just that.
‘I think he is a very talented young man, I sound like Brian Clough saying that don’t I?’ he quipped.
‘For his age he has shown a lot of maturity when I have watched him. I think he is blessed with great individual talent.’
‘I am not exactly sure at this moment what his best position is but then again I think his manager would probably say exactly the same.’
‘But he is just a natural footballer who I think is capable of playing in any kind of position.’
United are also reported to be considering offering Jude’s younger brother Jobe a spot in the Academy as well to help clinch the deal in the summer.
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