Leeds could land a potentially perfect centre-back partner for Diego Llorente in Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Reports in recent days have suggested that both Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and Premier League rivals Brighton have been closely tracking his progress ahead of a potential move for him in the summer transfer window.
Standing at an imposing 6 foot 2, Harwood-Bellis has earned rave reviews for his performances whilst on loan at Ewood Park, with Rovers boss Tony Mowbray, saying: “What I see is a lad who needs some buttons pushing because when you challenge him he generally stands up to the challenge.
“You can feel the fire in his belly and the bigger the name that plays in front of him the higher he’s going to rise in his career. The big games are what are going to get his juices flowing and I like his character, he’s one I would call an old school central defender who wants to go to war, but he can play football if that’s the game in front of him.”
Dubbed as a “powerful central defender also blessed with excellent skills on the ball”, Harwood-Bellis looks like the archetypal player for Bielsa, both being strong in the tackle and composed in possession too.
In fact, a profile piece by The Athletic, hailed the teenager’s commanding presence, 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.”
And, given how Harwood-Bellis has predominantly played as the left-sided centre-back at Ewood Park this season, and Diego Llorente has played more on the right, the ingredients are already there for the former to just slot in alongside the Spaniard.
Having that balance of the two centre-backs playing on their preferred side can have a huge impact on how well they perform, and ensure they aren’t taken out of their comfort zone.
Harwood-Bellis would be the perfect compliment for Llorente, and with his own ability to play out from the back, would ease the pressure on the Spaniard when it comes to starting moves from deep.
Leeds could well build a formidable centre-back partnership by signing the City starlet this summer.