When the deal that brought former New York City FC star Jack Harrison to Elland Road back in August was announced, most Leeds United fans had to google him to figure anything out about him. Not much was known of the Manchester City player who had cut his teeth in MLS, but many were excited that Leeds had landed a good prospect from City.
And then the season started and while Harrison showed flashes of his form that had made him one of the most exciting prospects in MLS in recent years, all too often Harrison was subbed off at half-time for Jack Clarke or failed to make the starting XI at all.
Many Leeds fans were, rightly, disappointed by his performances in many games, and most fans were expecting Jack Clarke to fully take over the starting winger role at Leeds, especially after the Boxing Day win at Aston Villa. However, Clarke started to show some growing pains and got ill at Middlesbrough, and while he’s okay, the club took their time and brought Clarke back slowly. In that time, Harrison has been a fixture on the left wing, with Gjanni Alioski moving to left-back. And you know what? It’s worked.
Harrison has played some pretty good football in the past few weeks, including scoring a fine winner against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. A very important goal that saw Leeds open up a three point lead over Sheffield United. Harrison also scored an important goal earlier in the season, as he scored a late equalizer at Millwall that saw Leeds finally get a result in South London. He’s scored four goals and had three assists this season, and if Leeds get a striker that is better at finishing chances, those assist numbers could easily climb.
Now is Harrison going to be the difference between misery and glory next season, regardless of where Leeds will be playing? Probably not. But Marcelo Bielsa trusts him to do a job on the wing, and as long as whatever price Manchester City wants for him is reasonable, then Leeds should look to make the deal. He’s still only 21 years-old and with Manchester City having a number of talents that will have eclipsed Harrison in the pecking order, a deal is surely there to be had.
Victor Orta was criticized for bringing in a lot of untested prospects on the cheap two summers ago, but Leeds may have an opportunity to bring in a player who has already played for an entire season in the Bielsa system and knows the rest of the players. No matter what division Leeds are in next year, depth on the wing is still going to be needed and a permanent deal for Harrison only makes sense.