Former Carlisle United academy graduate Jarrad Branthwaite could be the subject of a £40 million bid from Premier League giants Manchester United before the end of the transfer window, according to Corriere dello Sport.
The 21-year-old is widely tipped to break into the England setup following his performances at the heart of Everton’s defence this season. He has emerged as one the country’s rising stars after becoming a mainstay in Sean Dyche’s team after joining the Toffees from Carlisle in a deal worth a reported £1 million in 2020.
The centre-back rose through the Blues’ academy, making his first team debut at just 17 in 2019. Having made his move to the Premier League, he joined Championship club Blackburn Rovers for the second half of the 2020/21 campaign, although his time at Ewood Park came to a premature end after suffering an ankle injury.
Sporadic appearances followed for Everton before another temporary deal – this time to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven – materialised last season. He featured 36 times in all competitions and played in the Dutch Cup final, where he helped his side emerge victorious in a penalty shootout victory against Ajax.
Still in his first full season as a regular starter at Goodison Park, his performances have caught the eye of a host of clubs across the continent, including that of Real Madrid and Chelsea. However, it is Manchester United that are looking to steal a march on any deal and could make a move before the end of the transfer window.
According to reports from Italy, the Red Devils are looking to test the waters with a £40 million bid including add-ons as they look to bolster their defensive options. The 20-time English champions have endured a miserable campaign to date and are set to undergo another summer of uncertainty amongst their squad, with a number of incomings and outgoings expected following the takeover by Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Raphael Varane is still to agree a contract extension whilst Harry Maguire could also depart the club, despite his excellent return to form this season. Erik ten Hag is looking to build for the future, with Branthwaite looking the ideal candidate to become the focal point of their back four.
The report states that Everton know they face a battle to keep hold of the England under-21 international, although are hoping to maintain his services until the end of the season. Following their 10 point deduction in November, the Merseysiders currently sit in 17th, just one point above the bottom three.
Branthwaite penned a new contract last October which is set to run until 2027.
Manchester United are not known for pulling off big-money moves in the winter transfer window and it is unlikely that they will do so during the remaining days of this one. Their interest in Branthwaite is well-known and there could be a bidding war this summer, especially if Everton do find themselves dropping to the Championship.
Carlisle will be watching the situation closely, with it believed that they hold a 10% sell-on clause in any future deal which Everton make. That sort of money would be game-changing for the League One club, who are currently in a fight for survival in the third tier.