Major League Soccer

George Bello wanted by Italian coach Claudio Ranieri

Watford coach looking to add a left-back this January.

Bello accrued over 2,500 league minutes last MLS season
Bello accrued over 2,500 league minutes last MLS season

George Bello is a name that has been heavily rumored to be making a big move across the pond this offseason, and now The Telegraph is reporting the first bona fide link — interest from Claudio Ranieri’s Watford FC.

George Bello is Claudio Ranieri's preferred choice

The 19-year-old has evidently caught the eye of new Watford manager Claudio Ranieri, who is reportedly aiming to add some reinforcements in defense, with Bello representing one option for a potential transfer.

The former Premier League-winning manager took over Watford in October and The Telegraph reports the Italian is looking to add competition at left-back. Bello is one option for The Hornets, as is Arsenal fullback Sead Kolasinac on a potential loan move.

The homegrown left-back emerged as one of the league's best young defenders, starting 26 of his 29 appearances for Atlanta last year, recording one goal and three assists.

He parlayed that strong form at the club level into a breakthrough for the USMNT, picking up his first six senior caps.

Atlanta United is aware of interest from several teams

Atlanta United has braced themselves ahead of time for the potential departure of a player in Bello who accrued over 2,500 league minutes last season by signing American left-back Andrew Gutman from Celtic. Gutman was then sent on loan to New York Red Bulls last season where he acclimated to the league and established himself as one of the team’s top performers. He announced his goodbyes to the club earlier this month.

As for Bello, Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra told media after the season that the player has generated quite a bit of interest due to his performance in the league at such a young age. We can safely assume there are more teams than just Watford who’ve expressed interest in Bello to Atlanta’s front office, but it’s nice to see some formal reporting.

It would be an impressive move for Bello — not just for making a move to the Premier League, but for an opportunity to play under one of the more prestigious coaches on the continent who has managed some of the world’s biggest teams and players.

Andrew Visnovsky reported that if the move is done George Bello will not have a problem with his work permit.

And according to the report, Bello looks well in the clear to receive a work permit.

According to Transfermarkt, the U.S. soccer player is worth 4 million euros. 

Bello's career at Atlanta United

Bello from Douglasville, Ga., signed as a Homegrown Player with Atlanta United on June 17, 2017, with the deal becoming effective Jan. 1, 2018. He started the 2018 season with Atlanta United 2 and was brought up to the first team later in the campaign and made his MLS debut on Sept. 2, 2018, vs. D.C. United. 

He earned his first start on Sept. 22, 2018, against Real Salt Lake and scored his first career goal against the New England Revolution on Oct. 6, 2018, becoming the sixth-youngest goal scorer in league history.

Bello had a breakout season in 2020, starting a career-high 19 of his 20 MLS appearances at left-back, logging 1,648 minutes. He scored one goal and added one assist, and was the second-youngest player to play at least 1,000 MLS minutes in 2020.

Born in Abuja, Nigeria, Bello moved to Douglasville, Ga., at a young age and joined the Atlanta United Academy in 2016. 

Hugo Alberto Walls Gómez

SEO Journalist. Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Media Production. Two years working in digital media and editorial assignments. Currently working for Futbolero US and collaborating with INDeportes and Goleadoras MX, following Liga MX, MLS, and the Premier League. Passionate about sports and soccer.+ info

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