Manchester United’s board refused to match Borussia Dortmund’s contract offer for midfielder Jude Bellingham despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans to make the Englishman an immediate first-team regular, according to reports.
United and Ole were confident of securing a deal for the highly regarded 17-year-old after giving the player and his parents a guided tour of the club’s training ground in March.
Jude also held talks with Sir Alex Ferguson at Carrington, as well as with Ole and United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
However, BVB ended up winning the race for the midfielder as they purchased him from Birmingham City for an initial £25 million fee in July.
According to ESPN, Solskjaer believed Jude would make an impact in the first-team straight away at the club and felt the 17-year-old would make at least 20 appearances in his debut season.
But despite Solskjaer’s confidence in his plan for Jude, United’s hierarchy refused to match Die Borussen’s contract offer worth £56,000 a week due to the midfielder’s inexperience.
Before signing for Dortmund, Bellingham had only made his senior debut for his former club Birmingham City in August, although he went on to make 44 appearances for the EFL Championship club and immediately established himself as a first-choice midfielder.
‘I’m incredibly excited to have joined one of Europe’s biggest clubs,’ Jude said after joining Dortmund.
‘The direction they are heading in and how much they help to improve young players made it an easy decision for myself and my family.’