Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ratcliffe warned over Man Utd plans to sign £70m star as verdict on increased transfer bid nears

Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite is a target for Manchester United this summer

Manchester United chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been warned against paying over the odds for Jarrad Branthwaite with the Red Devils soon to find out if an increased bid for the Everton defender will convince the Toffees to sell.

The British billionaire is desperate to strengthen his squad this summer after a disappointing campaign that saw Manchester United crash and burn in the Champions League before going on to finish eighth in a hugely-underwhelming Premier League campaign. And while they did salvage some wreckage from their season by convincingly beating Manchester City 2-1 to win the FA Cup, plans are underway at ways in which the Red Devils can further improve next season.

Having decided to stick by manager Erik ten Hag – the Dutchman having convinced United he remains the best candidate for the job of reviving the club’s fortunes – the Dutchman has earmaked a three-pronged plan at how to ensure results dramatically improve next season.

And with Ten Hag banking on the return to fitness of both Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw next season – the pair both suffering injury-plagued campaigns – it is hoped the club will at least have some balance restored to their often-lob-sided defence when the new campaign gets up and running.

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Nonetheless, United do still want to recruit a new centre-half this summer, having already bid farewell to £340,000 a week star Raphael Varane at the end of his contract.

That financial drain on the club ensured the decision on whether or not to trigger the one-year clause on his deal was an easy one for Ratcliffe to make – and the funds saved from that will be re-invested into the squad on a potentially replacement.

Details of improved Man Utd bid for Branthwaite revealed

To that end, the capture of a new centre-half is very much one of the club’s most urgent priorities this summer, with Everton star Branthwaite high on their list of priorities.

TEAMtalk first broke the news of the cut-price offer Ratcliffe had made for the once-capped England man’s services, which came in at just £35m, plus add-ons.

But with the Toffees valueting the player at nearer the £70m mark – and not looking to sell their star man if they can help it, deeming other assets, such as Amadou Onana more transferable – there remains quite a long way for United to go before they can agree on a potential deal.

And while we understand Branthwaite himself has given the green light for the transfer to go through, believing it will help his career reach the next level, Everton are not prepared to compromise on his price, making a deal, at this stage, look extremely problematic.

Nonetheless, United are willing to submit an improved second and final bid to Everton to see if their determination to keep the player can be tested.

To that end, Ratcliffe and Co are prepping a second offer – believed to be closer to the £60m mark, but made up in a few significant add-ons – for the 21-year-old.

At this stage in the window, the Toffees are likely to stand their ground, feeling the player should not be allowed to leave for a penny less than £70m.

United, though, do also have other irons in the fire and an awkward stand-off between themselves and Everton looks now set to ensue.

Man Utd transfers: Ratcliffe given warning on Branthwaite deal

If United can convince Everton to cash in, though, they will be undoubtedly bringing in one of the Premier League’s most outstanding young defensive talents.

Branthwaite, a former PSV Eindhoven loanee, made 41 appearances over the season during his breakthrough campaign in the English top flight.

However, former United midfielder Paul Ince is not sure the player would represent really good value for money and has warned Ratcliffe about paying over the odds for a player whom ‘only has one season under his belt’.

“Jarrad Branthwaite has had a steady season in a team that struggled against relegation in Everton, and we’re talking about a player that came from Carlisle.

“He’s made great strides in such a short space of time so I think a move to Manchester United is a possibility,” Ince said, before adding: “The problem is that United have signed players in the past that have had one good season.”

“It’s not that easy and he’s got a lot to learn but he’s got plenty of pace, I like the way he plays, he’s aggressive and yeah he’s another potential signing.”

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Ince also feels Gareth Southgate was right to overlook Branthwaite from his final Euro 2024 squad.

“People have disagreed with Southgate for not putting him in the squad and I don’t think he’s ready for that yet, but if you’re looking to rebuild like they are at Manchester United, he is someone to look at.”

Ince also believes it takes a special type of player to succeed at Old Trafford, adding: “What people don’t understand is that it’s tough to play for Manchester United. Mentally tough. You don’t understand what it takes to be a Manchester United player.

“Some players have been there, who aren’t bad players, who just can’t deal with the atmosphere and the environment of playing for Manchester United and what the fans expect week in and week out.”