Whites Land Luke

Wanderers have successfully completed a key deadline-day deal to further strengthen their defensive options with the loan signing of highly-regarded Manchester City youngster Luke Mbete.

Mbete has joined Wanderers on loan for the rest of the season after ending a temporary stay in the Championship with Huddersfield Town.

The England Under-21 international will add to the Whites’ central defensive depth following the departure of Will Aimson and with George Johnston picking up a knock in Saturday’s win at Charlton Athletic to join Jack Iredale on the sidelines.

The arrival of Mbete – who has made three first-team appearances for City plus half-a-dozen in the Papa Johns Trophy before this season – also brings further Premier League pedigree to the University of Bolton Stadium.

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“We’re light on central defenders and, in particular, left-footed central defenders. Luke ticks a lot of boxes we look for,” said Wanderers’ boss Ian Evatt.

“He’s a really talented young player, part of the England Under-21 set-up, who’s excellent with the ball, athletic enough to cope and defend one-on-one in large spaces.

“He’s played for Manchester City, which probably speaks volumes for how highly they rate him.

“He went to Huddersfield earlier this season where he didn't perform to his full potential, but part of our transfer policy, really, is to look for players that have a point to prove.

“After having a loan that didn’t really go to plan for him, he wants to come here and show everybody how good he is.

“We think what we do suits him and vice-versa, so we’re looking forward to working with him.”

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Mbete – who made six Championship appearances for Huddersfield earlier this season – joins City team-mate and fellow Academy graduate James Trafford at Wanderers as the Whites gear up for the end-of-season run-in.

The 19-year-old, an FA Youth Cup winner with City in 2020 before making a senior debut for Pep Guardiola’s side in September, 2021, also links up with fellow top-flight loanees Conor Bradley, Shola Shoretire and Dan Nlunudulu as Wanderers’ sixth signing of the January transfer widow.

“It shows Manchester City really like what we’re doing,” added Evatt.

“They like what we’ve done with Traff and they can see what we’re doing with Conor Bradley and Shola, as well.

“Luke really fits that profile so it’s another good one for us to get over the line and, hopefully, he’ll show everybody how good he is.”

Mbete will wear squad number 28 during his time with the Whites.

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