By David Woods

5th Jan, 2021 | 9:05am

Athletic: Leeds eye 'tall and fast' ball-playing Man City CB who made bench v Chelsea

Leeds United and Juventus have their eyes on young Man City centre-back Luke Mbete, according to Sam Lee of The Athletic

The 17-year-old has caught the attention of Pep Guardiola and has been promoted to the Under-23s to “accelerate his development”.

And this has seen him make the bench of the first-team for the recent 3-1 win against Chelsea.

Writing in The Athletic Sam Lee said, “There was a new name on the Manchester City bench for their victory at Chelsea recently: Luke Mbete.

“The 17-year-old centre-back is very highly rated within the City academy and his performances over the past few months have attracted admiring glances from clubs including Juventus and Leeds.

“City signed Mbete (and Ian Poveda, now at Leeds) from Brentford when their academy folded and he has caught the attention of the most important decision-makers at the club, including Pep Guardiola.”

Mbete is described as “tall and fast, but perhaps his most eye-catching trait is his passing.

“All City centre-backs need to be good on the ball, of course, but he is not merely comfortable, he is genuinely creative and likes to play searching passes in behind the opposition defence.”

Next Ben White?

Tall, fast, comfortable on the ball, great passing? Mbete sounds like the ideal Bielsa centre-back. Could he be the next defender Leeds turn into a superstar?

Leeds and Man City have a good relationship, as evidenced by recent deals.

Jack Harrison has spent the last two seasons on loan at Leeds, and the two clubs recently agreed a third season-long loan with a £10m option to buy this summer.

Leeds signed Ian Poveda on a free transfer a year ago and he’s already enjoying an impact in the first team.

Pep and Poveda enjoyed a warm embrace after the 1-1 draw between the two sides and it’s obvious that there’s genuine friendship between Bielsa and the Man City boss.

Could Mbete be the next youngster to make a move to Leeds?

Pep will know what Bielsa has done with Ben White and a loan move down the line could well suit both clubs.

If Leeds can negotiate an option to buy then the deal would make even more sense for us. It would be good if we could avoid another situation like White.

But getting in the Man City first team is always going to be a long shot. If Mbete falls just short then he could be perfect for Leeds.

In other Leeds United news, Reliable journalist: Bielsa blocks Jan loan as 18y/o striker on brink of first-team breakthrough