Tongues have been wagging about Jude Bellingham, the 19 year old Englishman who’s been setting the Bundesliga on fire with his performances, and he’s been linked to the biggest, shiniest clubs (with apologies to Dortmund) this summer. LIverpool recently begged off, citing his potential £100m transfer fee but also the monumental nature of their own rebuild. Perhaps more-explosive has been Bellingham’s own confessions about his future, which just might indicate that Aresnal could be his preferred destination.
The England midfielder wants to play for a prestigious club with values like “passion, honour, and reputation”, rather than money. This would seem to rule out clubs like Man City, Chelsea, or Man U, and—at a risk of going out on a limb—might even hone in on the Arsenal. Liverpool have bowed out. Tottenham can’t afford him, and they’re facing a massive rebuild. Should Bellingham be serious in his desire to join a club with passion, honour, and reputation, it would be hard to do better than our own club.
First, let’s look at where he currently plays. Borussia Dortmund have lingered in the long, long shadow that the titanic Bayern Munich cast over the Bundesliga. Is it too much to suggest that Bellingham would savor a chance at toppling a similar titan on his home soil? Sure, Man City, can probably proffer any transfer fee and wage packet imaginable, but might Bellingham want a chance at slaying a Goliath? It’s not hard to imagine. Would he want to reprise Lewandowski’s role, joining the enemy rather than slaying him? If so, I stand firm when I say we should want no part of such a mercenary.
If instead Bellingham is sincere in his desire to join a club with those vaunted values of “passion, honour, and reputation”, he may very well be the kind of player we want. Surely, he’s noticed how simliarly preternaturally talented players like Bukayo Saka have flourished under Arteta’s tutelage and tactics. On a parallel note, he can’t have missed how other similarly preternaturally talented players like Jadon Sancho have stagnated elsewhere, at clubs I’m too discreet to name here (hint: it rhymes with Banchester Punited).
A move to Arsenal could make sense on other levels, as well. Joining a currently dysfunctional club like Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, or Tottenham would bring with it massive pressure to immediately elevate the club into contention for a Prem title and Champions League glory (depending on the club’s qualification for that staid and stately competition). Here at the Arsenal, we have ensconced at Bellingham’s preferred position(s) Xhaka, Partey, and Ødegaard. He wouldn’t have to produce immediately; he wouldn’t have to be a saviour or savant.
Instead, he’d be joining a young, determined squad with its brightest future still ahead of it with a chance to grow into his potential. With Xhaka and Partey gradually ageing out, a move to the right side of London (read: the red side) starts to make more and more sense. He may not be Prem-proven, like Declan Rice is, but his upside and his mindset are tantalising to say the least.
The silly season is still months away, but tongues are wagging. Time will tell.
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Bellingham, just like Rice, are both extremely overpriced and overhyped. There is no denying, they are both very good players that have achieved very little up to this point in their career. Being the best kid in your village does not guarantee you’ll be same in the city with many more kids and a naturally larger pool of talent. I’d take either of the two for anything in the region of £70 mil, but more than that… thanks but no thanks, there are options out there in the market that are just as talented, some even more, of better physique and would come for a fraction of the price tags thrown around when talking about Jude or Dec
Rice is Prem-proven even if West Ham struggle. Should they get relegated, your 70m might prise him away. Bellingham is younger and less-tested. Dortmund would want more than 100m, I’m sure, but as you say, there’s a lot of hype there and not as much evidence to go on. On the other hand, Rice would probably want to walk straight into the XI; Bellingham might be willing to be bedded in more gradually given his age. physique, and (lack of) experience.
At Arsenal we already do have a player who can do what Bellingham does and score more goals. If Smith Rowe is over his growing/injury/diet issues, then that particular role is a nailed on cert for ESR, or should be.
Interesting thought, Jax. ESR has been out for so long that I’d forgotten to consider him. I think ESR is more of an out-and-out attacking mid (10) while Bellingham might be more of a 6 or 8.
If ESR can get fit, I could see him gradually replacing Xhaka, but we’re also going to need someone to replace Partey soon enough.
I think Jude Bellingham I better than rice. he is still young and arterta will brighten him up.
I like the way you’re thinking. Rice is probably currently better than Bellingham (and knows the Prem), but Bellingham has a potential trajectory that might be more similar to how Saka has developed. Arteta’s record of accelerating player development should be enticing to both players.
He’s overhyped and command a major fee and then he’ll struggle under the pressure.