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Wolves: Harwood-Bellis could be Lopetegui’s next Kounde

Wolves have been linked with Taylor Harwood-Bellis recently and the youngster could prove to be Julen Lopetegui’s next Jules Kounde at Molineux.

According to Alan Nixon, Wolves are keeping a close eye on the Manchester City loanee, who is currently playing a starring role for Vincent Kompany’s table-toppers.

The Clarets moved top of the Championship with a 3-0 derby win over Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, with Harwood-Bellis once again superb at centre-back, so it is no surprise that he is attracting interest ahead of the January window.

The 20-year-old is ranked as the second-best performer at Turf Moor so far this season according to WhoScored and he is the only player to have played every single game in the second tier, which emphasises how highly Kompany rates him.

Albeit playing in the second tier, his 7.14 average rating from WhoScored would also rank him as the top performer at Molineux, so it is easy to see the quality that he could add to Lopetegui’s squad, particularly in a leaky defence which once again came unstuck in the 2-0 defeat against Arsenal at the weekend.

Would Harwood-Bellis be a good signing?

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Yes

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While the defender leads the way at Turf Moor in terms of blocks, clearances and interceptions, backing up former manager Tony Mowbray’s praise of his “warrior attitude“, he is also extremely assured in possession, which is where the similarities with Barcelona star Kounde begin.

As per FBRef, Harwood-Bellis and Kounde both score extremely impressively in terms of passes attempted, progressive passes and assists this season, which shows that they are both centre-backs who can be effective with the ball at their feet.

The French defender happened to be a regular under Lopetegui at Sevilla, making 133 appearances for Los Nervionenses during the coach’s time at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, which is the second-most of any player to have featured under his management.

His impressive performances in La Liga and in European competition, saw him earn a strong 6.92 average rating in La Liga last season and he would subsequently complete a €62.5m (£55m) move to Barcelona during the summer.

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While Lopetegui has Max Kilman and Nathan Collins to choose from at Molineux, neither of them are as adept in possession as Harwood-Bellis, as is evidenced by their less-than-impressive stats from FBRef.

Considering how vital Kounde was to Lopetegui’s success at Sevilla, he will surely be eyeing a similar player at the back for Wolves after the World Cup break, and Harwood-Bellis could be the ideal candidate.

Article title: Wolves: Harwood-Bellis could be Lopetegui’s next Kounde

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