West Ham Eyeing Swoop For “Incredible” £15m Titan, He Could Replace Rice’s Leadership – Opinion

West Ham Eyeing Swoop For “Incredible” £15m Titan, He Could Replace Rice’s Leadership – Opinion


West Ham: Taylor Harwood-Bellis could soften Rice’s exit

Harwood-Bellis deserves to be playing regular top-flight football come August…

The departure of Declan Rice will affect West Ham United in several ways.

The club has not only lost their imperious and ever-present talisman but also their captain – a pillar of leadership, composure, and tenacity.

It has left the Hammers scrambling as they assess how to adequately reinvest the mammoth £105m fee acquired from the record sale.

A new midfielder is the most pressing concern for West Ham, but David Moyes is reportedly also targeting a new right-sided centre-back.

One of those linked is Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

What’s the latest on Taylor Harwood-Bellis to West Ham?
According to the Guardian, the Irons are working on a deal for the Manchester City prodigy.

Alongside Harwood-Bellis, West Ham are also looking at Trevoh Chalobah and Harry Maguire. However, due to Wesley Fofana’s injury and the former Manchester United skipper’s high wages, the youngster could emerge as the most logical and attainable option.

Vincent Kompany names hidden quality that impresses him most in Man City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis - Manchester Evening News

The Evening Standard, meanwhile, claims the Premier League champions value their young talent at around £15m.

Would Taylor Harwood-Bellis be a good signing for West Ham?
Despite still being just a 21-year-old, Harwood-Bellis has amassed a commendable range of experience, including various Championship loans and a short stint with Anderlecht.

This means he’s accumulated 97 appearances away from the Etihad Stadium and is now well-placed to regularly feature for a Premier League side.

The 6 foot 2 gem has also sporadically made inroads into Pep Guardiola’s lineups, making his professional debut for his boyhood club in September 2019 in the EFL Cup.

At the beginning of 2020, he scored his first goal for City in an FA Cup victory over Port Vale and was rewarded with a new contract until 2024.

However, a pathway into the City first-team looks extremely complicated and murky.

The reigning European Champions already boast the likes of Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, John Stones, Manuel Akanji, and Aymeric Laporte, and seem on the verge of signing Josko Gvardiol.

Nevertheless, Harwood-Bellis deserves consistent top-flight football, thanks to a hugely impressive period at Burnley.

Last season, whilst on loan at Turf Moor, he made 31 second-tier starts, averaging the most interceptions (1.1) and blocks (0.7) per game in the squad as the Clarets cantered to promotion and conceded the least goals (35) in the division.

Internationally, the Englishman has also underlined his quality, as he captained the U21 Three Lions to European Championship. During this run, he started five of the six games, managed a 90% pass accuracy, and won 86% of his ground duels.

The Stockport-born titan is brimming with quality, and his former Burnley boss – and City legend – Vincent Kompany has predicted a huge future, saying:

“I think his biggest quality, that is perhaps more difficult to see on the eye, is his leadership and his incredible drive and high standards.”

These attributes perfectly encapsulate what Rice provided the London Stadium on a weekly basis.

Following the retirement of Mark Noble in May 2022, the former Chelsea academy product was named as West Ham’s captain.

This honour was a testament to his calibre, mentality, and reliability.

Since the 2017/18 campaign, Rice has featured in 203 of the last 228 Premier League games, and while Harwood-Bellis occupies a different position, he has experience leading a side to success.

Securing his signature would be a fantastic way to soften Rice’s exit and kickstart their underwhelming transfer window.

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