Bryan Robson has revealed how he and Sir Alex Ferguson were convinced Jude Bellingham would sign for Manchester United ahead of his move to Germany.
Bellingham and his family met with Robson, Ferguson and Eric Cantona at Carrington’s training ground to discuss a potential deal before signing for Dortmund.
Robson said he and Ferguson were convinced they had “landed” the England international and conceded he would have been a “great signing” for the club.
Bellingham has become one of the most sought-after midfielders in the world after excelling in the Bundesliga with Dortmund.
However, Robson was convinced the England international would ply his trade at Manchester United after meeting him a few years ago.
Discussing how United missed out on signing the rising star, Robson told The Sun: “I watched him closely when he played City.
“You could see how far he’s come since we thought we’d landed him at Manchester United a couple of years ago.
Robson added: “Unfortunately for us he chose to move to Germany. We thought we more or less had him.
“Myself, Sir Alex and Eric Cantona all met him with his mum and dad in Carrington and after that meeting we thought he would join us.”
Robson has also backed the 19-year-old into playing a starring role for England at the World Cup in Qatar.
He praised Bellingham’s “anticipation” and determination to win the ball but said the youngster needs to “keep your feet on the ground” to reach his full potential.
Robson said: “He has a fantastic anticipation – as we saw from the way he shot into the box to tuck his header away. But he also wins many battles.
“A lot of people think he’s more or less an attacking midfielder, but he can also play the other side. He’s a good size. He’s quite fast and in fact he has a bit of everything.
“Obviously what he needs to do is keep his feet on the ground and work hard to be the best he can be. But you can see why he’s become such a big target in the market because he’s such a big talent.
“And if he continues to play like he did against City, he will be a huge part of England’s World Cup bid.”
United’s new boss Erik ten Hag is said to be interested in signing Bellingham during next summer’s transfer window.
However, Chelsea are also trying to win Bellingham ahead of the 2023-2024 season.
Boehly, who spent £271m on signings this summer, is said to be a big fan of the England international and interested in his services.
Liverpool have also identified the Borussia Dortmund star as the key piece in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield puzzle.