“Exceptional” teen “mentioned” to Phil Hay would be a perfect White successor at Leeds – opinion

Leeds United seemingly have this season’s loan star Ben White at the top of the shortlist this summer, but they’ll simply have to look at alternatives incase Brighton do not budge and they could call on Pep Guardiola once more.

What’s the word?

According to The Athletic’s Phil Hay, a new name was “mentioned” to him in the form of Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis. He revealed this information following a question about having a back-up to the Elland Road favourite.

He does go onto claim that he doesn’t know if the Whites will actually go after him considering that the Yorkshire giants seem to be all in on White.

Hay believes the club are “trying to make that happen” but it can’t hurt to have other targets.

Ben White 2.0

And that’s why Harwood-Bellis is someone that Marcelo Bielsa will absolutely have to consider as he seems to be picked from the same crop as the Brighton centre-back.

Despite being only 18, the young defender has impressed in Guardiola’s first team playing in the EFL Cup, Champions League and the FA Cup.

He’s described as a “powerful central defender also blessed with excellent skills on the ball” which is pretty much what you’d see next to White in the soccerers’ dictionary.

Guardiola also lauded the academy grad as an “exceptional human being” with a “good mentality” after he made his senior bow back in September.

In addition, Haywood-Bellis has captained the U17 England squad, which only goes to show that he fits the leadership qualities that Bielsa would look for in a new signing.

Leeds ultimately need a new ball-playing defender with the only senior option going into next season’s PL return being skipper Liam Cooper.

If White can’t be secured, it’ll be big shoes to fill, but the club ought to look no further than the City sensation. Guardiola trusts him, so Bielsa should too.

AND in other news,£15m swoop for PL ace would be shades of JKA…