Recent reports have suggested that Manchester City are plotting an eye-watering swoop for World Cup breakthrough star Josko Gvardiol but Pep Guardiola may be better off putting his faith in academy graduate Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Foot Mercato have claimed that City have submitted a bid of around £85m for the 20-year-old centre-back, who was crucial as Croatia finished third at the World Cup in Qatar.
While he is undoubtedly a hugely impressive young centre-back, it would be another example of City spending big money rather than giving opportunities to promising youngsters, and Harwood-Bellis has shown with his performances on loan at Burnley this season that he could have a future at the Etihad.
The Englishman linked up with City legend Vincent Kompany at Turf Moor and has been a mainstay in their side at centre-back so far this campaign, with an immediate return to the top tier certainly looking on the cards for the Clarets.
Harwood-Bellis is the only player in Kompany’s squad to have started all 24 games in the Championship and it is easy to see why, with WhoScored rating him as the second-best performer in the squad.
Playing such a crucial role in a title challenge will surely give the 20-year-old vital experience that could help him make it at City in the future, as it will show whether or not he has the ability to consistently perform in a side who are always expected to win.
Kompany is certainly a big fan of the Englishman and will no doubt be in regular contact with his old club about the youngster’s progress, so it would not be a surprise to see him make it at the Etihad in the future, if the Belgian manager’s comments are anything to go by.
He said: “I’ve known Taylor [Harwood-Bellis] for a long time so what everyone can see on the ball or what everyone can see when he goes into his challenges, I think his biggest quality, that is perhaps more difficult to see on the eye, is his leadership and his incredible drive and high standards.
“These kinds of players you can almost be certain are going to improve. Usually, when a talent goes wrong it’s because there’s something mentally not right. With him, he’s got that more than anyone else. Wherever he is now, in two or three years’ time he will be a lot better.”
This certainly bodes well for his future at City and if he isn’t given more opportunities next season on the back of such an impressive campaign with Burnley, then the club may regret losing him in the future.
Therefore, Guardiola should forget about spending big money on Gvardiol and instead look at giving a chance to one of City’s most exciting homegrown talents.