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'The price tag is phenomenal' - Ferdinand backs Man Utd's £30m Bellingham gamble

01:32 GMT 25/03/2020
Jude Bellingham Birmingham City 2019-20
The teenager is turning heads across Europe with the Red Devils strongly linked with a big-money move

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has backed the club's pursuit of Birmingham City prodigy Jude Bellingham but concedes the reported price tag is "phenomenal".

Bellingham, still just 16 years of age, has starred this season in the Championship, scoring four goals and contributing two assists across 32 league appearances. 

Set to turn 17 at the end of June, clubs across Europe have quickly shown interest in the midfielder with the Red Devils most strongly linked with a possible transfer. 

With United reportedly ready to offer around £30 million ($35m) for Bellingham, Ferdinand admits that, though that fee is hard to fathom for such a young player, the gamble could be worth taking. 

"Jude Bellingham, huge talent, huge talent, really good-looking footballer in the way he plays, the balance he's got, the maturity at such a young age," Ferdinand said on Instagram Live.

"I want to see more but the price tag is phenomenal. £30m-odd for a kid, for a 16-year-old boy, it's unbelievable.

"But it's the way of the world now and the way you've got to think about it, if you're paying £30m, if we keep him for 10 years it's money well spent.

"It's a gamble, it's an expensive gamble, but for the kid to be playing in the Championship and doing what he's doing and looking the player he is, it's a gamble but a calculated one.

"I think he's someone I would 100 per cent take. If I'm Man Utd now, go in and get him."

With Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool among other clubs linked to Bellingham, Birmingham manager Pep Clotet stressed earlier in March that the teenager remains focused on the club he's currently contracted to. 

"I always thought he is very mature and very focused – but he has to be," Clotet told reporters.

"Because he cannot be thinking about other things than Birmingham City – and I am sure he is only thinking about Birmingham City.

"That's the feeling I get from him, when I speak to him and work with him."

Bellingham has been with Birmingham City since the Under-8s and became the club's youngest ever first-team player when he made his senior debut in August 2019 against Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup