Jude Bellingham is the name on every England fan’s lips right now, following his fantastic display against Iran at the World Cup.
The midfielder was making his debut at a World Cup finals, and earning his 17th Three Lions cap in the process.
He got the ball rolling in yesterday’s 6-2 victory, ghosting into the box a la Frank Lampard and looping a header into the far corner from Luke Shaw’s cross.
It was a brilliant goal, and one that allowed any early nerves to dissipate.
Bellingham’s whole performance yesterday was absolutely brilliant.
It may ‘only’ have been Iran. But this was still a first appearance at World Cup finals for Bellingham, who is still only 19 years of age.
He had complete control of the game in midfield from start to finish, showcasing his superb qualities in a box-to-box role.
Bellingham’s latest outing for his country has allowed his stock to rise ever higher, having started the 2022/23 season in tremendous form for Borussia Dortmund.
In terms of young players in football right now, he is right near the very top of the tree and it is remarkable to think that Wolves were supposedly extremely keen to sign him only a couple of years ago.
According to journalist Alan Nixon in January 2020, Wolves were ‘desperate’ to sign the youngster when he was a 16-year-old on the books as Birmingham City.
He also said that foreign clubs were queuing up for him, and that Manchester United were also on his tail.
Wolves ultimately never got a deal done. At the time, there was a much more pressing need to sign more experienced players, with the club struggling after the awful injury to Raul Jimenez.
Bellingham stayed with Birmingham until the following summer, and then left to sign for Dortmund for a fee of around £25 million initially.
Eyebrows were raised at the time, but that fee is now looking like an absolute snip.
Jude Bellingham will be world-class, and Wolves may now have some regrets with his career set to take off
Who knows how close Wolves ever really came to landing Bellingham.
If it’s true the club was ‘desperate’ to land him, then it’s obviously extremely frustrating a deal was not done.
Bellingham is now operating close to a world-class level already. That is truly scary to think about considering he’s still about 10 years away from his peak. The Daily Mail recently reported that Dortmund have slapped a £130 million asking price on him as a result of his incredible rise.
Bellingham, who has nine goals and three assists in 22 games for Dortmund this season, is also a leader. He’s already been entrusted with the captain’s armband at the German club numerous times.
Had Wolves actually been successful in signing Bellingham, there’s obviously no guarantees his trajectory would have been the same.
But it’s hard to watch him now and wonder what might have been.