Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Double delight for Man Utd as Carragher lauds ‘outstanding’ Ratcliffe target and main transfer rivals end pursuit

Sir Jim Ratcliffe Man Utd co-owner

Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be ecstatic, with Manchester United poised to beat Tottenham Hotspur to the signing of Jarrad Branthwaite, while Jamie Carragher has lavished praise on the Everton star.

Branthwaite gained vital first-team experience last season, making 37 appearances during an impressive loan spell at PSV. The centre-back returned to Everton last summer and is now enjoying a breakout campaign at Goodison Park.

Sean Dyche has decided to put his faith in the England U21 international this season, which has seen him play in 22 of Everton’s 25 Premier League games so far.

Despite Branthwaite only being 21 years old, he has not looked out of place in the top flight. Indeed, Branthwaite has shown he has the strength to deal with top-class strikers, while also being very comfortable when playing out from the back.

Unfortunately for Everton, they could lose Branthwaite to one of their Premier League rivals. On February 13, it emerged that Man Utd and Tottenham were leading the race to sign the youngster this summer. Tottenham were then tipped to launch a club-record move for Branthwaite.

However, Man Utd were handed a major boost on Monday as it was revealed that Spurs will actually struggle to match Everton’s huge £100million asking price for their star defender.

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In contrast, new Man Utd owner Ratcliffe is ready to use some of his huge wealth to help the Red Devils break their transfer record by landing Branthwaite.

The former Carlisle United man could go on to become a crucial part of Man Utd’s journey back to regular silverware, too.

Carragher labels Man Utd target ‘special’

Sky Sports pundit Carragher has sung Branthwaite’s praises, stating how he is impressed by the ability of young defenders to adapt to the current pace of the Premier League.

“I think he is [special],” the former Liverpool and England star said (via the Daily Mirror). “And what is really special as well is the amount of centre-backs we have in the Premier League aged 21 or younger.

“I remember being a young lad going in myself at Liverpool and it’s an unforgiving position, I had to go to full-back for the next three or four years and then go back to centre-back, so you can see the quality we have.

“Branthwaite has been outstanding, Murillo [of Nottingham Forest] I think has been outstanding. But I think this lad [Branthwaite] has been pretty special and he’s a big part of why, in my eyes, Everton still have a great chance of staying up; him and his partnership with [James] Tarkowski.”

Clearly, £100m is a huge amount of money to pay for a defender. But given Everton’s financial issues, Man Utd will feel they can drag the Toffees down from that asking price.

It is likely Man Utd will still have to spend £60-70m to sign Branthwaite, but that money could be very much worth it. Due to Branthwaite’s age, he has the potential to be a regular in the Man Utd starting eleven for 10 years or more.

While Branthwaite is thankful for everything Everton have done for his career, he would likely jump at the chance to take the next step in his career by signing for Man Utd. Such a move would also give him a chance to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England setup.

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