Leeds could sign their next Ben White by landing Manchester City starlet Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Despite being only 19, the centre-back has already played for Pep Guardiola’s first team in the EFL Cup, Champions League and the FA Cup, but is now experiencing regular first-team football whilst on loan at Blackburn Rovers.
Now, The Manchester Evening News claim that both Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and fellow Premier League outfit Brighton, are closely watching his progress.
The report claims that if Guardiola decides that he isn’t ready for the senior side at the Etihad, another season-long loan move could well be an option, and the Whites should surely be all over that.
Described as a “powerful central defender also blessed with excellent skills on the ball”, that is eerily reminiscent of one of Leeds’ former heroes in recent seasons, Ben White.
Indeed, a profile piece by The Athletic, lauded his character as well as his ability, noting: “Kompany’s are big shoes to fill, but Guardiola may see similarities in Harwood-Bellis’ leadership qualities. The precocious youngster was the U-15 captain when Pep arrived in Manchester, and he wore the armband for England at the U-17 European Championship.
“Harwood-Bellis has confidence, superior technique, aggression, physicality and the ability to command from the back.”
Just like White, the 6 foot 2 Harwood-Bellis appears to be composed on the ball (averages just short of 80% passing accuracy), and strong at reading the game and nipping in front of opposition attackers to win back possession (he’s managed an impressive 1.4 interceptions per game in the Championship, top five among all of Rovers’ players).
Given that he’s still young like White was when he joined on loan from Brighton, Bielsa will surely feel as though Harwood-Bellis could be the kind of player that he can really harness and develop into yet another top-class centre-back.
With the ability to lead from the back, and fit in seamlessly with the possession style of play Bielsa has built up at Elland Road, the Leeds boss would surely love the chance to work with a talented prospect like the teenager.
It’s a signing Victor Orta must surely be targeting. And when you’ve got Pep Guardiola describing you as “exceptional“, that’s surely the biggest stamp of approval you need.