Manchester United have been told that there are four things they must do to have a chance at signing Jude Bellingham.
The England midfielder has been incredible this season, carrying his form for Borussia Dortmund onto the international stage this week.
And Bellingham looks certain to dominate next summer’s transfer window, with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid set to rival the Red Devils for his signature.
According to Richard Fay of the Manchester Evening News, United’s chances of winning that battle are slim but can be boosted with certain guarantees.
First of all, a defined role would be needed for Bellingham, who opted to join Dortmund two years ago in search of a clear pathway to first-team football.
That is unlikely to be a problem for United, who were desperate to add another midfielder capable of progressing the ball last summer.
Erik ten Hag could not land Frenkie de Jong, but Bellingham certainly fits the profile of a dynamic midfield playmaker and could fit that role snuggly.
Next up, United must have a clear vision for the future of the club.
A feeling that the club are serious about moving forward and backing Ten Hag’s vision would be crucial here.
This summer’s spending spree will perhaps have helped in that regard, but the next key factor will depend on how well the club’s gamble pays off.
Champions League football would be essential in demonstrating that the project has the momentum to match the ambitions of a top player like Bellingham.
Recovering a difficult start to the season has boosted optimism around Old Trafford, but the form must continue to improve to guarantee participation in Europe’s premier competition, a competition Bellingham already knows well.
The final key factor would be making a strong case for a Premier League title during Bellingham’s time at the club.
It as been elusive for the past decade, with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp currently dominating England’s top-flight.
But as Erik ten Hag said in his very first press conference as Manchester United boss:
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