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Ex-Juventus chief scout Matteo Tognozzi has revealed to signing Jude Bellingham in 2019

Ex-Juventus chief scout Matteo Tognozzi has revealed how close the club came to signing Jude Bellingham in 2019.

The England star is widely regarded as one of the most promising talents in world football, with the hype around Bellingham so big that Birmingham City even retired his shirt number when he left the club aged just 17.

After a number of successful seasons at Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham made a mega money move to Real Madrid during the 2023 summer transfer window and has since become a genuine footballing superstar.

In just 14 games in all competitions, Bellingham has bagged a stunning 13 goals including a famous brace to earn a win over arch rivals Barcelona in the recent Clasico.

Bellingham’s career could have taken a very different path, however. Speaking in an interview with Tuttosport, ex-Juve chief scout Tognozzi – who spent six years in Turin from 2017 to October 2023 – has revealed just how close the Serie A giants were to signing Bellingham in 2019.

He revealed: “It’s the big regret. In 2019 we were close, I had met him and his family, but the boy decided to continue his growth path at Birmingham.”

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham in his Birmingham days / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

Juve are one of a number of clubs who came close to signing the midfield star prior to his moves to Dortmund and Real Madrid. In a recent appearance on John Obi Mikel’s Obi One Podcast, ex-Chelsea manager Frank Lampard revealed he was unable to convince the Blues to sign Bellingham for just £20m.

He said: “When I was managing at Chelsea, I was desperate to bring Jude Bellingham in. But I couldn’t get it through upstairs…the idea of paying £20m for someone his age.”

Speaking back in 2022, former Birmingham chief executive Xuandong Ren also revealed how Manchester United pushed for the midfielder’s signature during his time in the Midlands, detailing how the Red Devils had offered the player double the salary package put forward by BVB.

He revealed: “[Former Man Utd chief] Ed Woodward was the most insistent. We sat down and talked about how we could convince Bellingham. But Jude didn’t make any decisions based on money.

“[United] offered a lot more salary compared to the rest…double. He was going to have guaranteed millions in the bank and he didn’t take them. That’s not normal for a player at all. He sat down with [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer, until Woodward brought [Sir Alex] Ferguson one day, another day [Eric] Cantona, to try to convince him.”


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