Pep Guardiola sanctioned Manchester City’s signing of New York City winger Jack Harrison to scupper plans by Stoke to seal a deal for the England under-21 international, sources have told ESPN FC.
Harrison, 21, signed a three-and-a-half year contract at the Etihad after impressing for New York, City’s sister club in the MLS, during the 2017 season.
The terms of Tuesday’s deal were not disclosed, but sources confirmed to ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle that Man City will pay a fee of around $6 million (£4.25m), which could move higher based on performances.
A portion of any fee will go to MLS, and NYCFC will be able to use up to $750,000 of its share as general allocation money toward future signings under MLS salary budget rules.
The Stoke-born youngster has been loaned to Middlesbrough by City, but sources at the Etihad have told ESPN FC that he is seen as having first-team potential and Guardiola moved to sign him after he had been given the opportunity to move to his hometown club.
Harrison, who can also play as a forward, scored 14 goals in 59 appearances during two seasons in the MLS, and his progress under Patrick Vieira at New York earned him an England U21 call-up earlier this season.
Senior figures at City have made it clear that Harrison, who spent time at neighbours Manchester United as a schoolboy, is not yet ready for the first-team squad.
But Guardiola and Vieira believe he can develop into a player capable of competing for a first-team place and the risk of allowing him to leave the City Football Group to sign for Stoke was not worth taking.
City arranged Harrison’s loan to Middlesbrough in order to expose him to a more competitive and demanding environment in the hope he will develop further.
Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN FC that Academy product Tosin Adarabioyo could follow Harrison out of the club on deadline day.
Championship clubs Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday are both keen to sign the 20-year-old centre-half, who has made three senior appearances for City this season.