In this episode of Juventus’ near misses, former sporting director Fabio Paratici discusses how the Bianconeri barely missed out on the signing of English sensation Jude Bellingham.
Bellingham broke through at EFL Championship side Birmingham City during the 2019/20 campaign. With his superstar potential clear, several European heavyweights sought his signature, including Juventus.
Manchester United were another side strongly linked for the then 17-year-old’s services in the 2020 summer transfer window. However, the young Englishman opted to sign for Borussia Dortmund, a side revered for breeding young talent. Fellow English youngster Jadon Sancho enjoyed a stellar career at Signal Iduna Park before returning to his native land with United last summer.
Since then, Bellingham has blossomed into arguably Europe’s most exciting teenage talent alongside Barcelona’s Pedri. The pair are leading contenders for this year’s Golden Boy award and Kopa Trophy.
Widely regarded as a complete box-to-box midfielder, 18-year-old Bellingham has registered six goal contributions in nine Bundesliga and Champions League appearances for Dortmund this season.
Bellingham to Juventus was close
However, it seemed a genuine possibility at one stage for the Englishman to don the iconic black and white of Juventus.
According to former Juve director Fabio Paratici, now of Tottenham Hotspur, Bellingham was “one step away” from joining the Bianconeri.
“Jude Bellingham was one step away from joining Juventus years ago. He was in Turin for few days, the deal was close… then Jude decided to choose Bundesliga as the next step, so he joined Borussia Dortmund,” he said (via Fabrizio Romano).
Bellingham joined Dortmund in a deal initially worth £25m.
Nevertheless, had the England international decided to switch the Midlands for Piedmont, he would’ve become just the third Englishman and seventh from the British Isles to play for Juventus.
Another near miss
Juventus directors have made a habit of discussing their near misses in recent times.
In September, Paratici’s replacement, Federico Cherubini, spoke of the club’s regret at not signing Bellingham’s Dortmund teammate Erling Braut Haaland back in 2018.
The Norwegian monster decided against a move to Turin in favour of a switch to RB Salzburg.