Former Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao has revealed that he identified Jude Bellingham at 16 but he proved “too expensive” even as a teenager.
Bellingham is now one of the most sought-after players in elite football after cementing his presence on the world stage with a number of brilliant performances for England at the World Cup.
The 19-year-old moved from Birmingham City to Borussia Dortmund in 2020 for an initial £25m and his performances have seen him attract interest from a number of top clubs around Europe.
Liverpool and Real Madrid have reportedly been leading the chase for the England international but Cagigao insists Arsenal could’ve sign him over three years ago as a youngster.
“I saw him for the first time when he was 16 years old,” Cagigao told AS. “I wanted to sign him for Arsenal, but he was already too expensive.”
And Cagigao has also revealed that he identified Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique as good signings when they were coming through in the Barcelona youth team.
“Messi’s situation was not regulated and it was impossible for him to have a work permit in the UK,” Cagigao added.
“We had several meetings with Horacio Gaggioli, his representative at the time, but it was impossible.
“The Pique thing was not done due to a somewhat complex bureaucratic issue. In the end we signed Cesc Fabregas from that great Barca cadet team.”
With Liverpool sat tenth in the Premier League, former Premier League striker Gabby Agbonlahor reckons the Reds have no chance of signing Bellingham.
“I think the problem, Paul, is that you have been linked with Bellingham,” Agbonlahor told a caller on talkSPORT.
“Liverpool fans want Bellingham in, but he is not even going to look twice at coming to Liverpool.
“He is going to choose Manchester City, Real Madrid, all these other teams if you are not playing in the big competitions.”
On why Liverpool have been so bad this season, Agbonlahor added: “I have been saying this a lot this season, Jurgen Klopp for me is not motivating these players.
“Recently I have been watching Liverpool and they are not playing like a group of players that are playing for the manager.
“You look [at] today, [Naby] Keita, Thiago strolling around. The third goal from [Ruben] Neves, Thiago just was not even bothered to follow the run.
“You look at their last three away games: loss, loss, loss. They can’t score goals anymore, [Darwin] Nunes isn’t finishing his chances, [Mohamed] Salah doesn’t look like a threat anymore.
“[Cody] Gakpo needs some time to be fair to him but he doesn’t look like he is up to it yet. We talk about how he [Klopp] has a lot of credit in the bank but do Liverpool fans want Klopp to stay? Because he is just not doing it at the moment.”
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