Birmingham boss Pep Clotet has responded to the transfer reports surrounding teenager Jude Bellingham, suggesting Manchester United and Chelsea’s £50million interest in the wonderkid is real.
Bellingham has been strongly linked with a huge move away from St Andrew’s this summer following his stunning breakthrough at his boyhood club.
The young midfielder has been a regular in the Blues’ first-team this season and has held his own in the Championship at just 16 years of age, scoring four goals and providing three assists in 31 appearances.
And his impressive performances at such a young age have reportedly attracted interest from all of Europe’s top clubs, including Real Madrid and Barcelona.
It is Manchester United and Chelsea, however, who are said to be leading the race.
The Premier League giants are even reported to be willing to spend £50m to secure the youngster’s signature.
Clotet recently told talkSPORT that Bellingham remains fully committed to Blues despite the incredible list of suitors waiting in line to snap him up.
But, speaking to Jim White ahead of Saturday’s Championship clash vs Brentford, he did little to dispel the gossip.
“I don’t have all the information, because I’m the head coach and I’m not into all the transfer business of the club,” said the Spaniard. “But I can imagine that would be a big possibility.
“You see the talent in there, you see how he conducts himself on and off the pitch and you see the massive value he has adding to himself.
“He takes every opportunity to help the team and to grow, and he’s one of our main players now.
“We always had a lot of enquiries for him in the past, but obviously the numbers that have been mentioned in the press now just proves the good work everyone is doing around the club.”
Bellingham has earned plenty of plaudits this season, being hailed as England’s most exciting young talent since Wayne Rooney while also being compared to a young Steven Gerrard.
And Clotet has praised the teenager’s maturity, saying the sky is the limit for a player with his remarkable talent.
“He always had something special,” continued the manager.
“The way he takes on information and changes himself and makes himself a better player, it’s unbelievable. As soon as he sees something that’s not working, he changes it straight away, he improves it straight away.
“You never see the roof on him [the sky’s the limit].
“He’s a very modern player and he can play in any position in the midfield; we can use him on the wing coming inside, we can use him as a no.10, and we can use him as a second striker.
“He’s very modern, bit still not settled. He would love to play as a central midfielder, but it’s a massive asset for himself the fact he can perform and perform with quality in any of those positions.”
With some of Europe’s richest clubs ready to splash the cash, Bellingham has also had plenty of warnings over his future, too.
Forming Birmingham winger Jermaine Pennant has spoken to talkSPORT about the pitfalls that can ensnare young players when they complete their dream move, and urged Bellingham to keep his feet on the ground if he signs for a top club.
But Clotet says he has no fears over the youngster, as his footballing family keep him grounded.
The Blues boss added: “He has a fantastic family. His dad played the game at Conference level and he and his mum are very grounded.
“His brother plays for us as well in our academy and they all have their feet on the ground. Studies are important, football is important, and it’s about dedication and having that environment around him that believes in him and that’s given him a platform to be stable and focused.
“And by the way, he loves Birmingham. He loves the club, he’s a Birmingham fan so he wants the best for the club.
“At the minute I would say that he is in total control of the situation thanks to everyone here at the club and his family.”
Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Birmingham City manager Pep Clotet above