Leeds: Imagine Taylor Harwood-Bellis & Ampadu
The Whites could be set to form a fine defensive partnership.
Leeds United are set to continue their summer of vast change, with another shrewd signing that would bolster a key area for Daniel Farke…
Who are Leeds United signing this summer?
That’s according to reporter Alan Nixon, who took to his Patreon page to issue an update on the future of Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Belli
Having enjoyed a starring season on loan at Burnley, playing a key role in their promotion from the Championship, it now seems like the Whites are seeking to employ his services to repeat that feat at Elland Road.
However, his form has understandably drawn suitors, with many from the Premier League having also taken note. The recently-relegated Yorkshire outfit will therefore have to act quickly to pry him from the Etihad, stumping up his £15m asking price despite only recently joining the race.
His acquisition would supplement the two other defensive signings made this window, having welcomed Ethan Ampadu and Karl Darlow.
How good is Taylor Harwood-Bellis?
For Farke, the promotion pedigree of the 21-year-old titan will draw his attention, as someone capable of both spearheading their return to the top flight, whilst boasting the potential to thrive at that top level should they get there.
All signs point towards a stunning career for Harwood-Bellis, who not only thrived for his club last term but most recently also for his country.
Captaining England’s U21 outfit, he led his side to the European U21 final without conceding a single goal, defeating Spain 1-0 and claiming the trophy.
His 7.26 average Sofascore rating throughout the competition made him one of his country’s top-seven performers in a group full of elite top-flight stars. He would achieve similar levels in the second tier too.
Under both Lee Carsley and Vincent Kompany, he was deployed as a ball-playing asset capable of both dominating at the back and also strolling forward to forge chances. The former even lauded him as a fine “leader” far before he would captain his side to European glory.
As such, in the Championship he also maintained a 7.21 average rating across 32 appearances, buoyed by his 85% pass accuracy, 91 touches, 1.8 interceptions and 3.1 clearances per game, via Sofascore. That rating would have made him Leeds’ best-performing player by far last season, and his clearances would have ranked third.
He was constantly commanding possession, clearly far from overawed when faced with the prospect of regular senior football.
To now place the classy colossus beside the supremely experienced 22-year-old that is Ampadu, these two could strike an immense partnership that potentially spans the next decade.
After all, the Wales international has 125 senior appearances under his belt across six different clubs, having plied his trade in Italy and Germany as well as England. Not to mention his 43 caps, which is a remarkable feat for someone so young.
Just last campaign in Italy, for a Spezia side that fell to the drop, his no-nonsense defending saw him stand out among a doomed outfit. Despite this, his 6.91 average rating made him the club’s top-rated player, which was largely aided by his 90% dribble success, 2.1 tackles and three clearances per game, via Sofascore.
To combine such exploits with that of the powerful 6 foot 2 Harwood-Bellis, and these two along with their new goalkeeper could provide the foundation that fires Leeds back to the big time.