Ex-Arsenal scout reveals why Premier League giants missed out on Jude Bellingham transfer

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Former Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao has revealed why the Gunners missed out on signing Jude Bellingham when the midfielder was 16 years old.
  • Midfielder caught the eye at Birmingham
  • Gunners priced out of the market
  • One of several superstars they missed out on

WHAT HAPPENED? The England international was a highly-rated youngster on the books of Birmingham City at the time, with admiring glances already being shot in his direction as he began to make a senior breakthrough. Arsenal were among those to express interest, but they were priced out of the running as Borussia Dortmund eventually put a £22 million ($26m) transfer package in place during the summer of 2020.

WHAT THEY SAID: Cagigao has told AS of the Gunners failing to land the hottest of prospects: “I saw him for the first time when he was 16 years old. I wanted to sign him for Arsenal, but he was already too expensive.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Bellingham – who is now being linked with a move to the Premier League as Liverpool and Manchester United pursue his signature – is one of several superstar performers that Arsenal have missed out on down the years. Cagigao added on efforts to prise potential away from Barcelona’s youth teams: “[Lionel] Messi’s situation was not regulated and it was impossible for him to have a work permit in the UK. We had several meetings with Horacio Gaggioli, his representative at the time, but it was impossible. The [Gerard] Pique thing was not done due to a somewhat complex bureaucratic issue. In the end we signed Cesc Fabregas from that great Barca cadet team.”

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Jude Bellingham Dortmund 2022-23

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WHAT NEXT? Arsene Wenger has admitted in the past that Arsenal were interested in Messi at one stage, with the likes of Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Yaya Toure, Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo also slipping through the Frenchman’s net during his time in north London.