Rio Ferdinand reckons Manchester United have a slim chance at absolute best of winning the Jude Bellingham transfer race next summer.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is one of the hottest talents in world football, commanding a fee that is likely to top £130m. Playing in an advanced midfield role for BVB this season, Bellingham has an impressive nine goals and three assists in 21 appearances.
And after playing a starring role in England’s World Cup opener, demand for the former Birmingham City talent has never been higher.
Such was his performance at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar on Monday, that a string of pundits, led by Jermaine Jenas, gushed that his price tag may soar even higher.
Indeed, it’s hard to believe that a player this good and with over 200 professional games under his belt still does not turn 20 until next June.
As such, a string of the Premier League’s richest clubs are all keen to lure him away from Dortmund in 2023.
That chase is seemingly being led by Liverpool, who desperately want to get their hands on the midfielder. Chelsea are also keen, while Manchester City appear to be hovering with intent.
Manchester United certainly have the funds to make it happen too. And then there is Real Madrid, who are no strangers to making blockbuster signings over the years.
Wherever he ends up, Bellingham looks sure to become the most costly British player of all time.
Assessing United’s prospects, though, Ferdinand does not hold out much hope for his former side.
Rio Ferdinand downplays Man Utd chances of signing Jude Bellingham
And while the club appear to making progress under Erik ten Hag, they can offer no guarantee of Champions League football.
Furthermore, both Liverpool and Man City look better placed to fulfil the player’s trophy dreams.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand strongly dismissed United’s hopes.
“No, I actually think if you put yourself in Jude Bellingham’s shoes right now you have for instance, [Manchester] City are going to be in for him. Real Madrid are going to be in for him, Barca are going to be in for him, Bayern will probably go in for him.
“There’s too much work needing doing at United. It is whether he thinks ‘you know what, I can be the catalyst to pull this club where it should be’ that is the only way he goes.
“If he thinks he can be that guy than Man United are the club for him. But I just can’t see him taking that decision.”
Bellingham’s mature performance for England on Monday against Iran earned the player comparisons to two greats from England’s past.
Bellingham is future England captain
And Ferdinand reckons the teenager is a contender to succeed Harry Kane as captain when the Tottenham star eventually quits.
Ferdinand added: “A lot of the time we see the football player and we say ‘what a player blah blah blah’ but you’re not sure what’s going to happen off the pitch because they’re young and they can make mistakes and there is an element of being naive in certain situations.
“This kid, in the way he carries and presents himself, could be captain now.”
Ferdinand continued: “We’ve had great midfielders play for England in our generation down the years. Scholes, the Gerrards, the Lampards to name three, Gascoigne etc.
“None of those guys were doing what Jude Bellingham is doing at this age on the world stage, none of them. This kid’s playing Champions League football the lot, he’s doing everything.
“I’m not saying he’s better than them, I’m not saying he’s going to be better than them but right now, at this age, he’s doing what none of them have done. He’s ahead.”