The 20-year-old may be surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium once again next season with Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte all currently ahead of him in the pecking order.
In his quest to find more regular playing time at a senior level, he moved to Stoke City temporarily during the winter window, appearing as one of the first names on the teamsheet for Michael O’Neill’s men with an impressive 24 appearances under his belt for the Staffordshire outfit.
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Last month, O’Neill revealed to Stoke-on-Trent Live that a permanent move for the defender was unrealistic considering their budget but would want to explore the possibility of bringing him back on another loan deal in time for next season.
James Chester is already confirmed to be leaving on the expiration of his contract and Liam Moore has returned to Reading, making the centre-back area one they would probably want to address in the coming months.
This could make Harwood-Bellis a top target at the bet365 Stadium – but Ange Postecoglou’s side could dash their hopes of resigning him if the Scottish Premiership champions launch a formal bid for his services. The Bhoys are yet to contact the Premier League champions, however.
Harwood-Bellis was a decent addition and considering the Potters are likely to be working within a limited budget again in the coming months, a loan deal for the 20-year-old would certainly be a good outcome for O’Neill.
They may not be able to sell him on in the future if they only bring him in temporarily – but only recruiting him on loan may mean they pay less of his wages – with City potentially happy to pay most of his salary if he’s winning regular game time at the bet365 Stadium.
If he’s given this sufficient chance to shine, Pep Guardiola’s side could make a decent amount of money from his sale in the future, so this move would work out for all parties if it happens.
Celtic could be a more attractive option considering the stature of Postecoglou’s side – but you just feel he would benefit from playing against a high level of opposition on a consistent basis. He would benefit hugely from Old Firm games – but what about other matches north of the border?
If the 20-year-old has a choice between the two sides, Stoke may be his better option, especially when considering he has already become accustomed to life in Staffordshire. Retaining that familiarity could enable him to make a fast start to the 2022/23 campaign if he rejoins.