Newcastle United are expressing a strong interest in highly rated Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis, according to 90min.
What’s the latest on Newcastle’s interest in Harwood-Bellis?
The report states that Newcastle are one of several Premier League clubs tracking the 21-year-old central defender, who has enjoyed an excellent season on loan at runaway Championship leaders Burnley.
Other clubs tracking the England U21 regular include West Ham United, Fulham and Brentford.
The piece also suggests The Clarets are looking to bring Harwood-Bellis back to the club next season, with manager Vincent Kompany hopeful that his former employers will sanction a deal – whether it be another loan or bringing him in permanently.
However, with at least one new centre-back a summer transfer priority for Eddie Howe’s men, a sizeable offer from PIF – with Harwood-Bellis currently on just £7k-per-week, with the promise of being part of such an exciting project, could be too hard to turn down.
Why do Newcastle want Harwood-Bellis?
Harwood-Bellis joined the City academy at the age of six and has risen through the ranks to become one of the most promising young defenders in the country. He made his first-team debut in 2019 in a Carabao Cup victory over Preston North End and has since made eight appearances for the Citizens.
Since then he has enjoyed successful loan spells at Blackburn Rovers, Anderlecht and Stoke City, with his manager at Ewood Park, Tony Mowbray, describing him as a “warrior” who is “composed on the ball and has a lot of really good attributes”.
Since his arrival on loan at Turf Moor last summer, Burnley have been in incredible form and currently sit 11 points clear at the top of the Championship with eight matches to go.
In a team that has averaged the highest possession of any side in the Championship this season, Harwood-Bellis has the highest passing distance (40371 yards) in the Burnley squad, as well as making the second most switches of play (19) and having the highest percentage of dribblers tackled for any outfield player to have played over nine matches (74.1%).
This would translate positively into Howe’s set-up at St James’ Park, with his side ranking seventh in the top-flight, ahead of teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Brentford and Leicester City, whilst he would rank first within the squad for percentage of dribblers tackled, ahead of both Fabian Schar and Sven Botman.
Manchester City legend Kompany has hailed the Stockport-born starlet as “a great lad and player,” who is “a leader and someone I have a lot of time for” (via Lancs Live).
Whilst Harwood-Bellis is unlikely to immediately displace either Schar or Botman in the Magpies Premier League starting XI, he would provide valuable strength in depth as Newcastle look to compete in Europe next season.
He has all the attributes to learn fast and become a future Newcastle regular as PIF look to make smart additions as they enter the next stage of their project in the North East.