Aston Villa are keeping tabs on giant Carlisle United defender Jarrad Branthwaite as reported by Football Insider.
The seventeen-year-old broke into the League Two outfits first-team this season after a signing a new contract in February, tying him to the club until at least the summer of 2021.
He’s been at Brunton Park since the age of eight and progressed through the same youth system as Liam McCarron, who left for Leeds United in the summer.
The highly-regarded defender has made nine appearances across all competitions for the Cumbrians so far this season, and according to the report, he’s caught the eye of several clubs higher up the football pyramid with some outstanding displays.
However, reporter Pete O’Rourke suggests Villa are leading the queue to land the young star after a source at the Premier League club revealed to him they sent scouts to watch him impress in Carlisle’s recent 2-1 defeat to Port Vale.
He also caught the eye in the Cumbrians defeat at Morecambe with a brilliant individual goal.
Carlisle are currently in disarray after sacking manager Steven Pressley last week. They are struggling at the bottom end of League Two in twentieth place, and according to O’Rourke, they are bracing themselves for interest in the 6ft 4in centre-back when the transfer window opens in January.
Branthwaite is an imposing young player who has a great chance of going all the way to the Premier League.
He plays with the poise of a senior professional and is exceptionally comfortable with the ball at his feet.
He might be a little lightweight at the minute, but his athleticism is already outstanding.
Villa fans might not know too much about him, but he is an excellent young prospect.
After losing McCarron in the summer, many Carlisle fans are already resigned to losing the talented defender; their only hope is they get a decent sell-on clause, and any money received is invested back in their struggling squad.