Jude Bellingham has been tearing apart La Liga since his summer switch from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid, but things could have worked out differently for the 20-year-old had another European giant not rejected the chance to sign him last year.
With five goals and and one assist in five games for Real Madrid, it seems Jude Bellingham made the right decision to sign a six-year deal at the Bernabeu. When at Dortmund, though, the Englishman was one of the most-sought after players in Europe, and it seemed he had the pick of Europe's elite.
That isn't quite how it worked out, however. Liverpool ended their pursuit of Bellingham before the summer transfer window even opened in June 2023, but another Champions League side opted against any potential move even before that.
The report suggests that with Warren Zaire-Emery breaking into the first team, PSG's sporting director Luis Campos decided to place faith in the 17-year-old rather than hinder his progress by adding Bellingham to the squad.
Zaire-Emery is clearly highly regarded in the French capital, having started all five of PSG's Ligue 1 fixtures this season under new manager Luis Enrique. Following on from his 31 appearances in all competitions last season, the majority of which came when he was just 16, highlights the promise the young Frenchman has.
Operating from his preferred midfield position, Zaire-Emery might not necessarily have received the same opportunities had Bellingham be signed. Manuel Ugarte and Vitinha, meanwhile, have been mostly starting alongside Zaire-Emery.
Enrique is hugely impressed with Zaire-Emery, too.
“Zaire-Emery: I adore him," Enrique stated. "Without a doubt he is an incredible player. He is 17-years-old and he has everything to become one of the most important elements of the team.
"He is a very hard-working, very technical player. I am lucky to have a diamond in the rough."
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.