Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite included in Manchester United’s defender shortlist

Manchester United have added Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite to their defender shortlist ahead of the January transfer window.

Jarrad Branthwaite

Erik ten Hag was in the market for another centre-half in the summer transfer window and was open to cashing in on Harry Maguire, but the England international’s decision to reject a £30million move to West Ham left them unable to bring in another option. The Red Devils have endured a woeful start to the 2023/24 season having lost four of their seven Premier League games, conceding 11 goals in that process.

Injuries have played a big part with Raphael Varane returning to the team last week after another layoff while all four senior full-back options remain unavailable, including loanee Sergio Reguilon. Manchester United were dealt with a body blow last week when Lisandro Martinez was ruled out for up to three months following foot surgery.

Now, the Mancunian club are monitoring a number of potential additions to their backline including Benfica’s Antonio Silva, OGC Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba. Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite is reportedly also on Man United’s radar, as Ten Hag looks to solidify his team’s defence in January.

Jarrad Branthwaite emerges as shock Man United target

Jarrad Branthwaite, 21, impressed on loan at PSV Eindhoven working under Ruud van Nistelrooy last season. He was a regular in Van Nistelrooy’s starting XI at PSV, making 36 appearances across all competitions. The England Under-21 international returned to Everton in the summer and has now become a mainstay in Sean Dyche’s defence, starting the last six games.

The 21-year-old defender was wanted on a permanent deal by PSV and Manchester City were among the clubs in the summer keeping a close watch on him. Branthwaite is now understood to be in talks over a new deal with Everton, but that is unlikely to prevent clubs from monitoring him if he continues to flourish in his potentially breakout Premier League campaign at Goodison Park.

Even if Lisandro Martinez returns before the end of 2023, Man United are expected to be in the market for defensive cover. Maguire’s future remains up in the air and he could attract interest in the winter window if his situation at the club doesn’t change.

Branthwaite has emerged as a target for United, and his age, Champions League experience, physical traits and quality on the ball are likely to appeal to Ten Hag. Being a left-footed defender, the young Englishman would be a solid like-for-like Martinez replacement and bring balance to United’s shaky defence.

If the Red Devils are genuinely interested in Branthwaite, the least they could do is make an approach to Everton in the coming months.

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