Scottish giants Celtic are keeping tabs on imposing 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.
After reporting yesterday the youngster was a target of Aston Villa, journalist Pete O’Rourke is now claiming a source at the Hoops as revealed Celtic are also keeping tabs on Branthwaite and compiling a dossier on him as they plot a potential January swoop.
Celtic’s current recruitment policy appears to be based on prising top young talents from English clubs, with teenagers Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor, Luca Connell and Jonathan Afolabi all arriving at Parkhead in the summer.
O’Rourke suggests Carlisle are braced for interest for their 6ft 4in defender in January with scouts from Premier League and Championship clubs joining Aston Villa and Celtic in recent scouting missions.
Branthwaite is an imposing young player who has a high chance of going all the way to the top.
He plays with the poise of a senior professional and is exceptionally comfortable with the ball at both his feet.
He might be a little lightweight at the minute, but his athleticism is eye-catching.
Celtic fans might not know too much about him, but he is a fantastic 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.
Our view is he should stay Carlisle for as long as possible, but with speculation mounting, a move seems likely sooner rather than later.