The closing of the transfer window rarely signals the end of transfer speculation and in the case of Manchester United, Youri Tielemans is the latest name to be linked with a move to the club.
Reports have surfaced suggesting United are yet to make a decision on the future of Paul Pogba and that Tielemans could be their main target should the Frenchman leave Old Trafford.
Tielemans certainly fits the bill with regards to being the ideal Pogba replacement.
A traditional number eight midfielder, the Leicester City man has an unbelievable engine and can be a force moving forward as well as helping his side out defensively.
One of his standout games in recent times came during last season’s FA Cup final against Chelsea where he scored a fantastic 30-yard thunderbolt to clinch the trophy for Leicester.
His statistics so far this season have been equally as impressive.
Offensively, he’s scored one goal in Leicester’s first three Premier League matches, averaging 1.3 shots per game and drawing the same amount of fouls per game.
Defensively, he’s averaged 2.3 tackles per game and has made 1.3 interceptions per game. He also has a pass success rating of over 80%.
It’s clear that Tielemans would be a great signing if Pogba did move away from the club next summer, however he’s certainly not the only option out there.
Some may argue that Premier League experience is the most important thing a side like United should look for when buying a player, but it would be wrong to discard some of the exceptional talents currently plying their trade in the foreign leagues.
In fact, one individual who United should definitely be monitoring is Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
United fans will know all about the youngster, having missed out on his signature when he left Birmingham City two seasons ago.
It was even reported that Sir Alex Ferguson and Eric Cantona met with Bellingham and his family to take them on a tour across the Carrington Training Complex.
Prior to his move to Dortmund, Bellingham was available for a reported £30million – an eye-watering figure for a 17-year-old.
Despite their best efforts, United were unable to attract the teenager to Old Trafford, and when he spoke to the media before England’s Euro 2020 game against Scotland, he claimed it was an ‘easy decision’ to move to the Bundesliga club.
“To be fair, it was a decision that was quite easy in the end. I think if you look at Dortmund’s track record with young players and the way they develop them, it was the obvious answer,” he said of his decision to move to Germany.
“Obviously, at the time it’s hard to see it like that because you’ve got so many other options. But my strength of character, I’d probably say it comes from my parents and stuff. In terms of the decision I made, I had all their support throughout the whole way so I was quite comfortable in making it.”
The Bundesliga has almost become a breeding ground for some of Europe’s hottest prospects in recent years.
Jadon Sancho, Jamal Musiala and Erling Haaland all took the decision to move to Germany because arguably there’s less pressure than there is in the Premier League, the most scrutinised division in the world.
There was a logic behind Bellingham’s move and it says a lot about his character that he rejected a move to one of the biggest clubs in the game at such a young age. So far, it’s hard to argue he made the wrong choice.
During Bellingham’s debut campaign he enjoyed a productive season, recording eight goal contributions, including a sensational strike in Dortmund’s Champions League tie with Manchester City.
And his impressive start to life at Dortmund shows no signs of slowing down.
This season, he’s already bagged a goal and an assist in his three Bundesliga outings. On average, he’s completed 2.7 dribbles per game, he’s drawn two fouls per match and has a passing success rate of 84.7%. At only 18 years old, he has the potential to become something truly special.
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If United did need to replace Pogba, it feels as though Bellingham would be the ideal replacement and while Tielemans is a great player, the England international looks to be a better fit for the club.
When you take into consideration what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks for in a player, both physically and mentally, he’d thrive in a United shirt. Frankly, it’s no surprise the United boss wanted to sign him back in 2020.
Solskjaer is no stranger to having to play the long game when it comes to transfer targets – take his pursuit of Sancho for example – and you can guarantee he’s keeping tabs on Bellingham’s development over in Germany.
Should United reignite their interest in the teenager in the future, I don’t think a lot of supporters will be complaining.
Should Bellingham be Pogba’s replacement? Follow our new United Fan Brands writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the title race following the signing of Ronaldo in the comments section below.