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Manchester United make Jarrad Branthwaite defensive target—Right option?

Manchester United are reportedly interested in Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, as Erik ten Hag plans to overhaul his defence in 2024.

Owing to injuries to key players and a lack of consistency, the Red Devils have been defensively poor this season, conceding 16 goals in 12 Premier League games. All of Erik ten Hag’s preferred starting back four have spent time on the sideline since the start of the season, with reports emerging that the club are open to offloading Raphael Varane next year.

According to TEAMTalk, Everton’s Branthwaite is Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s preferred target to strengthen his defence. The club have drawn up a quartet of names which includes Sporting CP’s Goncalo Inacio, Benfica’s Antonio Silva and Jean-Clair Todibo from OGC Nice alongside the Everton man.

Branthwaite, 21, has impressed as the left-sided centre-back alongside the more experienced James Tarkowski, helping Everton gradually improve under Sean Dyche. The report adds Man United have tracked the youngster since his loan spell with PSV Eindhoven last year and checked out his potential with Ruud van Nistelrooy, who waxed lyrical about the defender.

Jarrad Branthwaite to Manchester United—Right option?

Man United have endured a poor start to the season and a huge reason behind is their unfortunate long list of injuries, particularly in the defensive department. Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have missed a lot of action, while fitness concerns remain over Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans.

Harry Maguire has worked his way into the team with a series of strong displays, yet his future along with Victor Lindelof, Varane and Evans remains uncertain at Old Trafford. Man United desperately needs fresh blood in defence, and Jarrad Branthwaite would be a quality long-term investment for them.

Branthwaite has shown his quality for Everton this season, impressing with his positional awareness, ball-playing ability and physicality. At 21, he is still raw in some aspects of the game as expected, but Ten Hag can mould him into a world-class defender. Furthermore, the England under-21 international’s left-footedness will add some much-needed balance to a United defence, which has been disturbed following the long-term injury to Lisandro Martinez.

The 21-year-old recently signed a contract with Everton until 2027, so any prospective transfer will likely have to wait till the next summer. However, Branthwaite’s age, profile, experience and potential make him a perfect fit in Ten Hag’s system at Old Trafford. He would improve United’s defence, and the opportunity to represent such a historic club will be quite exciting for the player as well.

Rohan Sengupta

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