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‘He’s Special’: Why Manchester United Should Target Mega Deal for ‘Outstanding’ Everton Defender

Manchester United are monitoring Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite

Manchester United will be eager to improve in the summer under INEOS and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s new part-ownership of the club. To do this, they should consider a huge move for Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite. At just 21 years old, the centre-back has stood out in the Toffees’ Premier League relegation battle and earned many plaudits for his performances.

Why Manchester United Must Plan a Huge Move for Jarrad Branthwaite

England U-21 Star Has Been Vital in Everton’s Relegation Battle

At just 21-years-old, the Carlisle-born centre-back has been a revelation for Sean Dyche’s side this season and has helped elevate their side in the midst of a bitter relegation battle. Their defensive record has been outstanding, with only 33 goals conceded after 25 league games.

Only Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Aston Villa have conceded fewer times, with all four of those clubs currently occupying the Champions League qualification spots in the league table. Everton are currently sat in 17th place in the Premier League.

Their place in the table doesn’t entirely reflect their form, as the club were handed a ten-point deduction after admitting a breach of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules. Everton are awaiting the result of an appeal against the sanction, which they have labelled “unjust” and “disproportionate”.

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Since returning from a successful loan spell at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, where he was managed by former Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy, the England U21 international has featured regularly as a key starter for Dyche’s side. So far, he has made 22 Premier League appearances in the 2023-24 season. In these games, he has consistently stood out for his composure and capability on and off the ball.

Why Jarrad Branthwaite Stands Out Amongst the Competition

At six-foot-five, he is a clear aerial presence in his own box, as well as from set pieces. Despite his large frame, he doesn’t have a clear lack of pace and he looks comfortable with the ball.

While his pass completion percentage is relatively low at 79.9%, this is likely a result of Everton’s direct style and use of transitional attacks against ball-dominant sides. During his spell at PSV, he recorded an 87.2% pass completion rate, which is backed up when you watch Branthwaite, as he demonstrates solid technique and decision making.

This is noticeable even in this direct approach, as the centre-back is often able to start transitional attacks by picking out the right pass from defence, even under pressure.

When it comes to purely defensive actions, he is among the elite in most categories. He averages 2.17 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 1.2 blocks per 90 minutes, along with a staggering 4.35 clearances and 2.61 successful aerial challenges. In a side with more ball-dominance, these numbers would certainly fall, regardless, he is a significant disrupter of opposition attacks.

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Everton Star Could Renew Manchester United’s Defence for a Decade

Despite some investment in younger players over recent years, Erik ten Hag is facing down the reality of an ageing central defence at Manchester United. Harry Maguire is 30-years-old, Victor Lindelof is 29, while Johnny Evans has been impressively serviceable at 36. Despite signing in the summer of 2022 for £42 million, World Cup winner Raphael Varane is also 30 years old and has faced fitness issues.

While the younger Lisandro Martinez has been exceptional since joining the club and notably does play on the left of central defence, which Branthwaite also prefers, the Argentine has already suffered three major injury spells in just two seasons in England.

If United want to compete in the league, European competitions and both domestic cups, they will need another defender. Branthwaite could relieve the pressure on Martinez all while learning from the experienced veterans alongside him.

While Branthwaite will be keen to fight for a starting spot, deputising for his Argentine teammate would help to ease expectations from fans, which may help his development. The English defender could be the red side of Manchester’s equivalent of John Stones, who initally struggled after leaving Everton for Manchester City before becoming a vital component of several title runs and their treble-winning side.

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At such a young age, his arrival could signal the end of an era in which the club have spent huge transfer fees on players already well into their prime, such as Varane and Casemiro. It would certainly guarantee that the club has ample coverage on the left side of the defence for the injury prone Luke Shaw and Martinez.

How Much Would Everton Demand for Jarrad Branthwaite

Unfortunately, such an ideal move comes with a catch. According to reports from the Daily Mail and Metro, Everton would demand a nine figure transfer fee for the defender.

However, the club is facing huge financial insecurity as a result of their Bramley-Moore Dock stadium development. In addition to this, there are doubts over the likelihood that prospective owners 777 Partners will pass the Premier League’s fit and proper owners test. As a result, there is a possibility that the Merseyside club will be desperately searching for cash in the summer.

Even if not, they must consider a long-term strategy to recruit the young Englishman, who promises to be a generational defender if moulded properly and surrounded by talent. To help ease the financial burden of such a move, United could look to offload Lindelof, Maguire or Varane in the summer.

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Jamie Carragher: ‘Branthwaite Has Been Outstanding’ – England Call Up Could Come Soon

Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher offered serious praise for the 21-year-old ahead of Everton’s 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace on Monday night:

“Jarrad Branthwaite has been outstanding, Murrilo (of Nottingham Forest) I think has been outstanding. But I think this lad Branthwaite has been pretty special and he’s a big part of why, in my eyes, Everton still have a great chance of staying up”.

According to reports by The Times, the young prospect is hoping his performances will have impressed Gareth Southgate enough to earn a call up for March’s international fixtures. While it may seem too soon for him to receive the call for Euro 2024, the England boss has not given any clear indication of who his preferred back-up centre back is.

Marc Guehi, Lewis Dunk, Levi Colwill and Fikayo Tomori all hope to be alternatives to the duo of John Stones and Harry Maguire, which has long been a staple of Southgate’s side. So far, neither of those options have clearly made the primary backup spot theirs. Perhaps the door is open for the emerging star out of Merseyside.

A window of opportunity is opening for Jarrad Branthwaite, who is understood to have several admirers amongst Europe’s elite. Reports suggest that Real Madrid, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United are all interested in the defender.


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