Burnley are already being linked with a plethora of new players following their Championship title win but Vincent Kompany’s priority should be keeping Manchester City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the club on a permanent basis.
Could Burnley sign Harwood-Bellis this summer?
Following previous loan spells with Blackburn Rovers, Anderlecht and Stoke City, Burnley signed the 21-year-old on loan from Kompany’s former side in the summer of 2022.
Now, the Clarets want to sign him permanently as they look to bolster their defensive options ahead of a return to the Premier League but could face competition from West Ham United, Fulham and Newcastle United according to Football Insider.
Despite all three being established Premier League sides, they claim that Burnley are now well-placed to sign the Englishman should he become available this summer, as he has just one year left on his contract at the Etihad, which could force the Citizens to sell.
Should Harwood-Bellis be Kompany’s number one priority?
It is easy to see why Kompany would want him permanently as he starred at Turf Moor this season, averaging a superb 7.07 rating from WhoScored across his 32 Championship appearances, which ranks him as the fourth-best performer in Burnley’s squad.
At 21, he is far from the finished article and certainly has the defensive qualities to be a success in the top division, having ranked first for interceptions per game and second for clearances per game in the Clarets’ squad, while he was also dribbled past just 0.2 times per game on average in the Championship.
Former Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray identified these qualities early into Harwood-Bellis’ career and sang his praises during his spell at Ewood Park.
He said: “Taylor has a defensive instinct, a warrior attitude and he’s someone who wants to win headers and tackles. He wants to engage, he’s composed on the ball and has a lot of really good attributes.”
Another name that has been heavily linked with Burnley in recent weeks is Arsenal midfielder, Albert Sambi Lokonga.
The Belgian youngster worked under Kompany at Anderlecht, where he likened him to Yaya Toure, and has experience in the top flight with the Gunners and Crystal Palace, where he spent the second half of this season on loan.
However, his performances in the top flight this term do little to suggest that he could be a big success at Turf Moor, as he averaged 6.42 and 6.28 ratings from WhoScored with Palace and Arsenal, mustering just 15 appearances in the top flight in total.
Therefore, if Kompany is presenting a shortlist of names to chairman Alan Pace this summer, then Harwood-Bellis should surely be at the very top, as it is clear that he already has what it takes to be a success at Turf Moor.