Jude Bellingham to Arsenal was ‘close’ as England teen slipped through the net

Arsenal were close to signing Jude Bellingham from Birmingham but sporting director Edu opted not to pursue a deal.

That is the claim of Gunners legend Tony Adams.

Bellingham, who now plies his trade at Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, was recently called up to the senior England team.

The 17-year-old burst onto the scene last season in the Championship with Birmingham, before earning a £22.5m move to Dortmund.

However, it could have been a very different story for the versatile midfielder, who Adams claims could well have joined Arsenal instead.

“I think it got lost this one in the transition of the chief scout,” the former Gunners captain told Sky Sports.

“He was spotted very early on, not by me but by the Arsenal recruitment office. The chief scout was absolutely bowled over by him and the great prospect that he is.

“New sports director Edu came in from Brazil and had no European experience and no UK experience and I think it got lost in the transition.

“Unfortunately the chief scout had the deal kind of done but we missed that one. He’s a great talent but unfortunately he’s not joined the right club.”

Instead of signing Bellingham, Arsenal splashed the big bucks on Thomas Partey to bolster Mikel Arteta’s midfield, who looks to be an impressive acquisition.

But Adams admits he is among those who has been left surprised by the Mesut Ozil situation, with the German completely exiled by Arteta.

“Ozil for me is one of the best creative players in the world. What he struggles with at times is the defensive side.

“To win the league we need great players, like Dennis Bergkamp. Now and again I would ask Dennis to get back in behind the ball and just do a little bit for us. That’s all Ozil needs to do.

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“But when you’re putting him on the sides and asking him to go with runners, he’s not got that in him. But with Partey he’s got someone who can [do that].

“I always said Ozil’s the cherry on the cake without [Arsenal having] the cake but we’re getting some players in the team [now] with stability there.

“There’s signs you could get the cherry on and let him pull the strings for [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang down the middle. I would love to see Ozil in behind feeding Aubameyang all day long.”

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