Chelsea enter the battle to sign 16-year-old Championship midfielder

Chelsea will join Red Devils in the battle to sign Birmingham City star Jude Bellingham. U17 England international has quickly established himself as one of Europe’s hottest properties following a series of eye-catching performances in the Championship.

Jude made his senior debut in August and has already racked up 31 matches in all tournaments, with his displays drawing attention from scouts all across Europe. Man United were reported to be at the head of the queue, but their opening £25m offer fell well short of Birmingham’s valuation.

Bellingham himself is said to have reservations about moving to the Premier League at such an early point in his career. The Norwegian boss maintains an interest in the 16-year-old midfielder, and any potential deal for him would not impact on his desire to sign his main summer targets, including the likes of Grealish, Maddison and Sancho.

Red Devils will be forced, however, to pay closer to £50m, a world record for a youngster, with Blues set to spark a bidding war. Frank Lampard was left disappointed after Blues board failed to deliver any new signings in the winter transfer window, but work on bolstering the squad in the summer is already well underway.

Chelsea coach has built a new-look side around a clutch of Blues most promising academy graduates and is keen to add Jude to the mix. A deal to sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, meanwhile, is expected to be confirmed shortly with the Dutch club’s boss all but admitting the Morocco international was bound for England last night.