Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Dream update for Ratcliffe with classy Man Utd target available for vastly reduced fee; star breaks silence on links

Man Utd part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, transfer target Jarrad Branthwaite

Jarrad Branthwaite could swap Everton for Man Utd

Manchester United part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be delighted after learning his prime transfer target Jarrad Branthwaite can be signed for a much lower fee than previously expected, according to reports.

Ratcliffe is planning a big summer transfer window as he looks to make Man Utd competitive at the very highest level once again. The British billionaire thinks central defence must be improved if Man Utd are to get close to the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.

On Monday, it emerged that Ratcliffe has held fresh talks with Raphael Varane to try and sort out a new contract. But those discussions have been unsuccessful, with Varane poised to leave alongside Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans this summer.

To replace those defenders, Ratcliffe is eager to sign Branthwaite. Other centre-backs on his radar include Sporting CP’s Goncalo Inacio, Benfica star Antonio Silva and Jean-Clair Todibo of Nice.

But Ratcliffe wants to sign Branthwaite first, with the 21-year-old one of the best young defenders in England.

Everton initially demanded £100million after learning that Man Utd are interested in Branthwaite, though that price tag then fell to £80m.

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According to the latest from Football Insider, Man Utd have been given a major boost as Everton’s asking price has fallen yet again.

Due to their financial problems, Everton will ask for £70m if Man Utd come calling for the Englishman at the start of the summer.

Jarrad Branthwaite to join Man Utd for reduced fee

But there is also the prospect of Branthwaite moving to Old Trafford for less than £70m if Everton’s situation worsens.

The Toffees will be very frustrated if their prized asset departs for way less than the £100m and £80m sums that have previously been talked about.

Although, they still look set to make a big profit when he leaves. Everton signed Branthwaite from Carlisle United for £1m and have done brilliantly to develop him since then.

On Monday, the player was asked about the ongoing rumours surrounding his future. He broke his silence on the speculation by saying: “You have just got to block it all out.

“I think if you focus on the outside stuff, you get distracted from what you need to do on the pitch. For me now, until the end of the season, I am just focused on winning games for Everton.”

Branthwaite’s top performances for Everton this season have seen him force his way into the England setup. He was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the recent friendlies against Brazil and Belgium but unfortunately did not pick up any game time.

“I think it was a good experience for me to be there, disappointed I didn’t get on, but it is one of those things,” he said about his maiden England call-up.

“For me, now, it is just concentrating on myself, playing at a good standard, which got me into that team, and hopefully by the summer I can get into the squad.

“The experience of playing with those high-quality players every day and learning from them… like I said, I was disappointed not to get on the pitch, but it is one of those things.”

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