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Jude Bellingham signs for Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed the signing of 17-year-old Birmingham City star Jude Bellingham.

The 17-year-old midfielder has signed a long-term deal with Dortmund. Bellingham, who is the Blues' youngest player, will leave the Championship club after their final game of the season on Wednesday.

It is understood Birmingham will receive a guaranteed £25m up front, with fees worth 'several millions more' potentially added on depending on appearances, achievements and milestones. Bellingham - who Dortmund say has signed a "long- term contract" with the club - said: "I can't thank Birmingham enough for what they have done for me, not just this past year but since the age of seven. "Of course I wish everyone associated with the club nothing but the best. Once a blue always a blue.

Dortmund were Bellingham's preferred choice ahead of a number of English clubs, including Manchester United. United even arranged a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson when Bellingham visited their training ground.

Bellingham had been linked with Dortmund for months, but Premier League side Manchester United were also reported to be keen on recruiting the 17-year-old. The midfielder came through Birmingham’s academy before becoming the club’s youngest ever first-team player when he made his senior debut in the Championship in August 2019. He was 16 at the time.

Dortmund's sporting director, Michael Zorc, confirmed Bellingham will be part of their first team, saying: "Jude Bellingham confidently chose BVB and, of course, was primarily concerned with the sporting perspective that we showed him. "He has enormous potential that we want to develop with him in the coming years. He already has a surprising amount of quality in his own possession as well as against the ball, and on top of that, the player also has a strong mentality.

However, Dortmund's recent impressive history of developing young players, most notably Jadon Sancho and Christian Pulisic, proved persuasive, in addition to Dortmund's continuing presence in the Champions League. In August 2019, Bellingham broke the record of former England striker Trevor Francis as Birmingham's youngest player, when he made his first-team debut aged 16 years 38 days.

Bellingham will join up with his new team on 30 July as they prepare for the upcoming season, beginning with a week-long training camp in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. As he did at Birmingham, Bellingham will wear the No22 jersey at Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund were part of a closely fought title race in Germany’s top flight this term, but ultimately finished second as Bayern Munich won a record eighth consecutive Bundesliga trophy.

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