Martin Keown says he would have ‘loved’ for Jude Bellingham to join a Premier League club but reckons he snubbed Manchester United in favour of Borussia Dortmund over fears he would struggle for game-time at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils were believed to be leading the race to sign 17-year-old midfielder Bellingham, who has made 42 appearances for Championship club Birmingham City this season.
But Bellingham reportedly rejected Manchester United in favour of German side Dortmund, with the teenager undergoing a medical at the club on Friday morning.
Arsenal legend Keown admits he is ‘disappointed’ that Bellingham will not be playing in England next season and says he reckons he snubbed United because of the fierce competition at the club.
He told talkSPORT: ‘There is a reputation for Dortmund to bring these young kids through on a conveyor belt, give them opportunities to play them and give them their heads.
‘I just feel a bit disappointed that Jude Bellingham has had to go to Germany to do this and couldn’t find a place at one of the top clubs in England.
‘I am pretty certain the other teams were clamouring for him, he seems a very level headed individual, he knew what he wanted.
‘There are lots of positives but I just like to see the best players in England, who are English. There is no doubt about that.
‘I do feel we need to widen our horizons a little bit as we had many players going abroad for a time but nonetheless I do see this as a quick stop, that he goes to a foreign country and then comes back again the finished article.
‘He has played 39 games this year, that is remarkable in itself, he is a strong young man, nearly six foot, he is still developing, can play in a succession of different positions and let’s see, let’s wish him well.
‘I would have loved to have seen him play in the Premier League, I think Manchester United were keen to get him.
‘He may have looked at the first team for Manchester United and thought ‘Where am I going to get a game? Am I better going to Dortmund?’
‘I understand that too, let’s hope one day we see him back in the Premier League.
‘It’s a shame Manchester United could have impressed him enough to take him there.’
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