No one really knows how hard Manchester City tried to take Jude Bellingham to the Etihad Stadium. But if his current form is anything to go by, City should have tried harder. An absolute powerhouse of a footballer, the young Englishman has been the player of the season in Europe so far.
The quality of getting into a new team in need of inspiration and instantly becoming the star man taking the team to the next level is reserved for a select few. Those are players seen as exceptional talents that carry a magic wand. They make the impossible possible and pull the chestnut out of the fire again and again.
Bellingham was not seen in the mould of the Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Lionel Messi’s of this world before he moved to the Santiago Bernabeu. But the 20-year-old is forcing the issue. Real Madrid fans were already in love with the young midfielder after a scintillating start to the domestic campaign. But, also scoring in his first two Champions League appearances for the club to help secure vital wins conferred on him the title of the star boy in Madrid.
Starring for the Three Lions during the international break to help the team conquer Italy and book a place for Euro 2024 showed he is the real deal. Partnering Phil Foden in midfield, one could not help but wonder what could have been.
What if the former Borussia Dortmund player had moved to City instead of Real Madrid? What if he was the one that replaced Ilkay Gundogan? What if he now partnered Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne in the City midfield? What if…? What if…?!
Naturally, they were reports of several European heavyweights battling for his signature. But City were said to be leading Madrid in the race to sign the player at some point. As it turned out, Madrid won.
But, on another day, in another transfer window, City could have signed the gem. And maybe, just maybe if the higher hierarchy at the Etihad Stadium realised just how amazing the player would turn out to be, they would have pressed harder.
They did it before with the acquisition of Erling Haaland. Surely, they could do it again with Bellingham.
The City faithful can only look on in admiration now. And watch him dazzle while breaking records as a Real Madrid player.