A former Arsenal scout has revealed that he was interested in taking Jude Bellingham to the Gunners before the now England superstar joined current club Borussia Dortmund.
Bellingham is still only 19 but has already played more than 150 first-team games in his career and recently starred for England at the 2022 World Cup.
Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid have all been closely tracking the midfielder, with Dortmund expected to price him at €150m (£134m) when the time eventually comes to sell. Manchester United were also very keen in 2020, but Bellingham went to Dortmund instead.
Dortmund now remain keen to persuade him to stay for one more year until 2024. While they will not stand in his way should he decide to move on, no release clause in his contract means they are well within their rights to demand a high fee that reflects his full market value.
But things could already have been so different had Arsenal had their way before now.
Former Gunners scout Francis Cagigao has spoken about being keen on Bellingham when the teenage prodigy was still at boyhood club Birmingham. The issue for Arsenal, even then, was alreast the price – the eventual Dortmund transfer came in at £25m plus add-ons.
"I saw him for the first time when he was 16 years old," Cagigao told AS.
“I wanted to sign him for Arsenal, but he was already too expensive.
"He is very good. What is clear is that if a club has paid that amount [€120m] for Enzo [Fernandez], someone is also going to pay for Bellingham."