Old Firm rivals Rangers and Celtic have joined the race for Carlisle United’s exciting young talent Jarrad Branthwaite, as reported by the Scottish Sun.
Celtic have already been linked with a move for the 17-year-old, but The Sun reported in its print edition (Page 67, 1 December) that Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are now also keen on signing the Cumbrians prospect. However, both sides face stiff competition from Premier League duo Newcastle United and Southampton.
That’s in addition to Aston Villa, who were also credited with an interest in the defender. It is now understood that a move could be made in the January window, giving the current Carlisle boss Chirs Beech a war chest with which to fight relegation.
The report suggests that he’s valued around the £1million mark, a figure not likely to put off the chasing clubs.
Branthwaite only secured his first professional deal at the start of this year, but then-manager Steven Pressley highlighted his potential at the time, saying; “He’s made a big impression on us with the way he’s conducted himself and we see him as a young boy who has big potential. I use the word potential because that’s all it is at this moment in time.”
He broke into the first team under Pressley, making his debut as Wolves Under 21s beat the Cumbrians in the EFL Trophy. His league debut came under a month later in defeat at Plymouth and he’s since made six League Two starts for the club.
Potential is a wonderful thing. Essentially, clubs are chasing a ‘what might be’, rather than a ‘what is’. Jarrod Branthwaite, right now, is not Premier League or SPFL quality, but he could be and that’s a vital attribute to have.
He might be worth £20m by 2022, or he might have faded into obscurity and be out on loan in the National League. Few know, but the value of simply being thought to be good enough is very high indeed.
Carlisle will, of course, cash in if the right offer is made. The choice the big clubs now have to make is whether the impressive 17-year-old is worth a £1m roll of the dice.