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Manchester United cast their eyes on Branthwaite

| Sunday, 17 April 2022 46comments  |  Jump to last

Manchester United are keen on signing Everton's young defender, Jarrad Branthwaite, according to the Daily Mail.

The 19-year-old agreed a new contract with the Blues last December that tied him to the club until 2025 and with injuries and suspensions causing intermittent selection crises in defence this season under Rafael Benitez and Frank Lampard, he has had opportunities to display his talents at first-team level.

Branthwaite's promise, technical and physical prowess and composure despite his tender years has drawn covetous attention from other clubs and Everton's well-publicised financial losses mean that transfer speculation around their biggest stars or most promising young talent is only likely to increase in the coming weeks.

Reader Comments (46)

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Derek Knox
1 Posted 17/04/2022 at 12:46:31
Any more good news ? That's Richarlison and Branthwaite if their Agents have any say in it, when we want to offload some deadwood. Mind there are not a lot of callings for deadwood these days.

Hopefully both Richie and Jarrad see the bigger picture, if there is one, and a future with Everton, and Frank !

Brian Murray
2 Posted 17/04/2022 at 13:37:07
I hope the days of the likes of Man Utd are just way easy pickings low hanging fruit for our better players . Tell them they act have their Keane back or the err promising holgate. Staying in this league and then having an inspirational window is crucial to us. The alternative see above.
Robert Tressell
3 Posted 17/04/2022 at 15:39:51
I could see Ten Hag (if he is appointed at Man Utd) being v interested in Branthwaite as a partner to Varane.

Obviously allowing myself to get carried away I have previously compared him to DeLigt.

If he was playing in Netherlands he'd have 50 or more first team appearances by now.

Branthwaite is also one of a relative few top class British youngsters not already at a club of Man Utds wealth bracket. Therefore he's gettable.

Hopefully it's bollocks because Mykolenko, Branthwaite + AN Other and Patterson could be an excellent back 4 for us for the next decade if they perform and we can keep hold of them.

Stu Darlington
4 Posted 17/04/2022 at 17:36:02
Branthwaite still has 3 years on his contract so, if any clubs come calling, we should tell them to do one.

At 19, he is still very young for a centre-back and has time to develop into the kind of top defender we desperately need.

Derek Knox
5 Posted 17/04/2022 at 18:47:56
Robert @ 3,

"Hopefully it's bollocks because Mykolenko, Branthwaite + AN Other and Patterson could be an excellent back 4 for us for the next decade if they perform and we can keep hold of them."

Totally agree and having watched a few U-23 games too, hoping defensively that Reece Welch and Ryan Astley can step up to the plate too. We also have Dobbin, Cannon, Simms, Warrington, Whitaker and Onyango as forwards and midfielders. Hopefully a few more young guns can step up, even if bench warmers to start with. Could save us a few bob too!

Tony Everan
6 Posted 17/04/2022 at 19:57:29
I'd be bitterly disappointed if Branthwaite was sold. It surely can't happen but I am not surprised Man Utd are sniffing around as he's one of the best young centre-back prospects in the country, if not the best at 19.

As Robert has already said, Mykolenko, Branthwaite, AN Other, Patterson is going to become a long-term quality defence. As it beds in, it will get better and better. It will change the look and feel about Everton over the next few years.

Fans should protest somehow if this sale was seriously considered. He's a big part of the future of our club.

David Pearl
7 Posted 17/04/2022 at 20:50:40
Hopefully we can at least get Phil Jones in on a player plus cash deal. Seriously though, no chance. Gomes has run his course now, enough is enough. I'd keep Holgate to cover across the back plus in midfield. Let's hope our new DoF does a job.

We actually bought in 3 cup-tied players in January that have hardly had a kick. What the fuck was the point? Never ends, does it?

Sam Hoare
8 Posted 17/04/2022 at 21:00:37
Will be very interesting to see who the club sells this summer. Even if we stay up then I suspect that at least one if not two big names will have to be sold to help balance the FFP position. Plus there will be a few players who (rightly?) think they can do better.

I would not be that surprised if both Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison were to leave. Though the former will have dropped in value somewhat over the last 12 months. Hopefully we would get around £50-60M for each of them but I'm not sure.

Branthwaite will stay I'd think, it's unlikely anyone would bid enough money to make it worth our time. If only Mina could stay fit, then I think him and Branthwaite could make an excellent centre-back pairing over the next few years.

Will Mabon
9 Posted 17/04/2022 at 21:17:46
Nightmare scenario: we get Maguire to partner Keane.
Gary Jones
10 Posted 17/04/2022 at 21:33:49
Like a couple of others, I see Branthwaite, Mykolenko and Patterson really establishing themselves as first choices with us next year. I also still think (or at least hope) Godfrey can make it as a decent CB too.

Can’t see anyone coming in for Mina given the wage he’s on and his injury record, so think he’ll stay round and go on a free next year. Whether he manages to play much is another question entirely. The hope would be that someone comes in for Keane and a Holgate, and the money could be used to fund a version of Mina who stays fit and can pass.

James Flynn
11 Posted 17/04/2022 at 00:17:22
I don't doubt Lyndon's comment that Jarrad, "has drawn covetous attention from other clubs." Manchester United, too? Why not? They sure need a better defense.

The Mail's article, though, just reads as space-filler. It's opening sentence employs the laziest of rumor-mill phrases "are monitoring" and that's it.

Hope we reject all bids and he earns his way into the starting line-up next season.

Alan J Thompson
12 Posted 18/04/2022 at 04:57:03
This is all Brands fault, signing players that attract interest from other clubs, just gives other players similar ideas.... oh, hang on, that's not right, is it?
Brands watching Carlisle? No way!
Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 18/04/2022 at 07:28:17
Surely the aim is to have players that other clubs would want? Because that means you have talent.

Otherwise we promote averageness and have players that no-one else wants? That's pretty much where we've been for 30 years bar one or two individuals.

Will @9; what a partnership. The expensive Keane with the even more expensive Keane. All because they were English and had the English mark up price stamped on them. Because of their English-ness, not because of their quality. I didn't see Bayern or Barcelona banging the doors of Turf Moor or the Kingpower to nab them.

Mal van Schaick
14 Posted 19/04/2022 at 08:57:24
If we are building for the future, surely Branthwaite is one of the success stories of the club's aim to rear young players. I would have him in and around the first team as a regular, and we must keep him, and pay him, to keep the usual vultures away from buying our better players.

We are heading for a new stadium, and we should have a team on the pitch befitting that stadium. I am hoping that:- Richarlison, Branthwaite, Pickford, Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Mykolenko, Patterson, Gordon, Gray, Dobbin, Astley, and Onyango are some of those who will still be with us, and we will add more quality to the squad. Calvert-Lewin is playing like he's been tapped by another club.

The remaining players can go: Delph, Davies, Doucouré, Gomes, Alli, Allan, Kenny, Holgate, Coleman (retired), Townsend. Van de Beek and El Ghazi can go back to their parent clubs.

Winston Williamson
15 Posted 19/04/2022 at 09:28:33
Mal, I agree with everything you say, apart from keeping Keane. He should be the first out of the door, if we can find a club daft enough to take him.
Andrew Ellams
16 Posted 19/04/2022 at 10:21:37
I see Mina moving on this summer so I'll be surprised if the club isn't desperate to keep Branthwaite as his long term successor, but young lads and their agents and easily turned when clubs like Man Utd look their way (if the rumour actually has any legs).

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 19/04/2022 at 10:29:55
I'm with Winston on that Mal. You left Keane on your list.

Over the years many bemoaned us getting United cast offs.

He is. It's just he past through Burnley first and they saw us off to the tune of £30m for the privilege. Great business by them to be fair.

But then United spent £80m on a supposed upgraded version from Leicester?

Funny old game as the saying goes. Especially the price tag attached to English players.

Rob Dolby
18 Posted 19/04/2022 at 12:04:29
How did we discover Branthwaite? Was he a late developer at Carlisle? Did he play academy football anywhere else? I am curious as clubs hoover up obvious potential.

He has all of the raw physical attributes to be a prem player. The main ingredient we don't know about him yet is his decision making. A centre-back role has moved on significantly over the last 15 years. Stopping is the pre-requisite but distribution and decision making are more and more prominent with top teams and their defenders.

The Premier League is a tough place to learn the trade. There aren't many 20-year-olds playing centre-back regularly.

Tricky situation for Lampard re centre-back. Mina is always injured; Holdgate isn't good enough; Godfrey isn't tall enough or good enough on the ball; Keane doesn't have average games. He is either very good or very very poor.

I can see us buying another centre-back and trying to offload a couple of them. Maybe another loan will help develop Branthwaite.

I also think people tend to forget that even top teams defend from the front. You watch how hard the forwards and midfields track back to help defenders out. That doesn't happen much with us.

Laurie Hartley
19 Posted 19/04/2022 at 12:07:57
We should definitely keep hold of Branthwaite - Carlo said something along the lines of “the scouting team have done very well to have found him” - and Carlo can pick a defender even if I am dark on him for deserting us.
Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 19/04/2022 at 12:25:44
Rob @18, your last paragraph says a lot. It's not a new concept. The phrase "attack is the best form of defence" is age old and telling.

Defending in the Moyes style (not picking on Moyes by the way) is inviting the law of average inevitable of conceding territory, advantage and more goals than you will score over time. You will not win things that way other than the odd one off.

Successful teams, successful Everton teams, were mostly known and renowned for their forwards and midfielders.

Captains were generally defenders, but we loved our number 9s and attacking players. Sheedy, Sharp and Steven every day, as much as I loved Ratcliffe and Mountfield.

Even across the park, the goalkeeper and centre back were the last pieces in the recent puzzle that brought the prizes. They built from the front and applied a front foot approach.

I won't contradict myself; we need to fix the centre back position. But then we need to fix a lot of other positions. Football in its simplest form is about scoring more goals than you concede. Not setting up to not concede first and try and nick one.

Robert Tressell
21 Posted 19/04/2022 at 12:38:12
Rob, I think Godfrey probably is tall enough to play centre-back alongside Branthwaite, because the latter is huge. Patterson and Mykolenko also good sizes for full-backs.

He'd also be helped if we can get a specialist holding midfielder of decent size / aerial ability.

My main issue with Godfrey is maturity / positioning. He could be magnificent if he sorts that out – but he needs coaching and an experienced head to help him. It's the experienced head we need to recruit.

Not sure who that is entirely.

There aren't loads of viable options unfortunately.

Daniel A Johnson
22 Posted 19/04/2022 at 13:20:25
Don’t think we need to worry, wasn’t Man City supposedly looking at Holgate once upon a time?

Now must people would happily trade Holgate for a portion of chips

Steve Hogan
23 Posted 19/04/2022 at 13:56:09
Rob (18) and to quote, 'our forwards don't track back enough to help our defence out'...have you not been watching Richarlison this season?

He works his bollocks off tracking back, every game. Not bad for Brazil's no 9.

Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 19/04/2022 at 14:51:36
Playing a two-man midfield was killing us, and wasn't helping our central defenders, who were always looking to retreat anyway. This was probably because of the way Ancellotti had set us up in the previous 18 months, but the lack of defending on the front foot has been absolutely soul-destroying to watch, and an absolute dream for most of our opponents.

Tom Bowers
25 Posted 19/04/2022 at 15:55:43
We should give this lad a big contract and offer Holgate or Keane to Man Utd. They are both prone to mistakes which have cost us a lot this season.

However, Man Utd have enough problems on defence, which Liverpool will expose today, so they wouldn't want either on a free transfer.

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 19/04/2022 at 16:04:49
Steve #23 and Tony #24.

The problem midfield Tony talks of means Richarlison (often our most potent attacking threat) is nullified because, as you rightly say Steve, he's always tracking back.

A well balanced midfield 3 should allow Richarlison to stay much higher up the pitch as a goal threat (hate to say it but as per Mane and Salah).

That goal threat pushes the opposition back, meaning both forwards and midfield protect the defence better - allowing the defence to squeeze up.

The key to this is a quality holding midfielder along with two pressers (each of whom must contribute some attacking threat).

Allan is a good presser with pretty much zero attacking contribution. Doucoure is a good presser with some attacking contribution.

Neither is a specialist holding midfielder - like Makalele, Rodri and Fernandinho etc.

So as much as we need a good centre half, we also need a good holding midfielder - complemented by Doucoure and, presumably, one of Iwobi or Alli (unless Alli is written off).

Unfortunately this will only happen by investing the sale proceeds we get for Richarlison - the one player who might benefit most!

Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 19/04/2022 at 16:17:14
Robert@ 26,

I think there is a dearth of specialist holding midfielders. Spurs and Man Utd are reflective of this. In recent years, both have (since Eriksen left Spurs) had issues because on one hand they have very limited industrial midfielders: Fred, McTominay. Dier, Ndombele etc, and a bunch of overtly attacking players. They didn't really have proper midfielders who can do a bit of everything.

Andrew Keatley
28 Posted 19/04/2022 at 16:18:23
Still very early in terms of knowing what level Branthwaite can reach, but the raw materials look very good. The "bigger" clubs will absolutely be keeping a close eye on him as the potential upside is massive.

Branthwaite has a noticeable calmness when in possession, and his short-passing game off his left side is very good. His longer passing is not something I've seen enough of to comment. There is not one side of his game that I have noticed to be weak – although he seems to be a bit on the quiet side.

His loan at Blackburn last season started well but then he was eventually jettisoned for the Man City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis (who is also highly rated); I think Branthwaite is the better player of the two, but I assume Harwood-Bellis was better able to fight for the opportunity at the time.

The comparison with Ben Godfrey is an interesting one. Godfrey has great pace and tenacity, but many of his core skills are lacking. His heading is weak, his short passing is basic and risk-averse, and his long passing is rare and tentative. He lacks composure with the ball at his feet and, other than being able to carry the ball forward in straight lines at pace, he offers very little attacking thrust or imagination.

I think Godfrey can improve many of these areas, but he feels like a bit of a throwback. Branthwaite feels like a very modern defender whose composure on the ball and passing out of defence could be a winning combination.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 19/04/2022 at 16:28:27
But a good central defensive pairing, will definitely help to give our midfielders, a lot less space to defend Robert? We could talk all day, but I’ve personally seen a more aggressive Michael Keane in the last few games, (not worrying about what’s in-behind so much?) and Pickford has even started coming out to sweep.

Mistakes are still happening, but the more people take charge, then I’m sure a lot of these mistakes will begin to disappear, so leadership is still the biggest requirement needed imo.

Some good points Andrew, I saw Godfrey playing last man at West Ham a few times during that game, and think this is how he needs to play, to bring out his strengths?

Robert Tressell
30 Posted 19/04/2022 at 16:43:49
We basically agree, Tony!

Kieran - because I am deeply sad and also have been bored in bed with Covid, I have looked at options for the holding midfield and centre-back options. I think centre-back is much more tricky than holding midfield because we have such a young inexperienced back 4 if we really are to build around Branthwaite, Patterson and Mykolenko. So we need an experienced head in there who is also capable of squeezing up the pitch.

With holding midfield, there are lots of options – especially if we allow a younger player a season to bed in while Allan, Davies and Doucoure see out their contracts.

Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 19/04/2022 at 16:52:16
Robert #21 and Andrew #28, good assessments on Godfrey, but he needs coaching not just on positioning but on his work in the air. He may be "tall" enough to win headers but he doesn't know how to win them -- Jagielka, an inch shorter, would have beaten him in the air 100% of the time. It's a teachable technique.

Kieran and Robert, a true holding midfielder with all the tools is the second-rarest commodity in football, behind only the pure striker. The ones everybody knows about -- Kante, Bousquets and now Ndidi at Leicester -- are defense-first players who can seamlessly transition into attack.

Two of the best young central defensive midfielders in the world right now are the Americans Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. I did everything but jump up and down and screamed on TW when Schalke made McKennie available a couple of years ago, but we never had a prayer because he was determined to go to Juventus.

Will Mabon
32 Posted 19/04/2022 at 17:19:14
Mike, I agree re Jagielka's ability, and coaching. One thing though - whilst everyone can improve, all players have a natural maximum potential when it comes to the ability to jump, to spring, and the way they time it. Particularly from a standstill; varying muscles and nervous systems. Tim Cahill – you can't teach that.

There is something lacking aerially with Godfrey as a centre-back. He's of a height where he needs a good leap to play that position, as well as everything else. Maybe it's in there, maybe not.

Andrew Keatley
33 Posted 19/04/2022 at 17:23:09
Mike (31),

I completely agree that we are lacking a classic holding midfielder, or at the least a dynamic holding midfielder who is any good.

Gbamin was heralded as a decent option when he arrived but injuries and loss of confidence quickly arrested that. I know some hold out hope for Tom Davies but I just cannot see him making any meaningful contribution to a successful Everton side.

Delph is clearly unable to play regularly at this stage of his career, but hopefully he can manage a few games between now and the end of the season.

The player I'd like to see us try to unearth would be in the mould of Rodri. For me he is the unsung hero of the Manchester City team, as he does so much of the intelligent cover work that enables players like Cancelo to step into midfield and contribute. He really is the epitome of selfless sacrifice, especially how he closes the spaces around the opposition when they are trying to get out of tight areas.

Rodri is fortunate because he is tall, quick, and strong – so he has those assets to rely on – but really it is his brain that is his biggest strength. And his technique is excellent too. No wonder he cost the money he did!

Uncovering a young player in the mould of Rodri is going to be difficult, but he would be my template; he might not score too many goals or even get into the box very often, but he gives the attacking unit the freedom to express themselves as his instincts to cover are as good as I see anywhere in the game.

Robert Tressell
34 Posted 19/04/2022 at 17:56:25
Rodri is really lovely player to watch, Andrew. It all looks so easy for him. Such a shame about Gbamin.

I liked Sander Berge a lot because he also had that elegance and intelligence that Rodri has (as well as being a giant) - but haven't seen him play since the bad injury. Not sure if he's still the same player.

Seems fairly unlikely (but not out of the question) that Sheff Utd will be promoted so assume he'll be available and probably for a reasonable price too.

Kieran Kinsella
35 Posted 19/04/2022 at 18:10:21

Get better soon mate

Mal van Schaick
36 Posted 19/04/2022 at 18:16:18
Winston #15, Danny#17.

I’m prepared to give Keane the benefit of the doubt. He has had some bloopers with us, but only when he has been paired with Holgate and sometimes with Godfrey, but he has also had some outstanding games for us i.e. V Man Utd.

Steve Shave
37 Posted 19/04/2022 at 18:40:04
Robert 34 I really like Berge too, I didn't know he'd sustained a bad injury though. He would have brought alot to our midfield, height, power, passing ability and specialises in the CDM spot we will need to fill next season (though I hope Gbamin can come back and fight for a spot).

I see Florian Grillitisch is available from Hoffenheim on a free, that would be a good signing. However, I can see Frank wanting to buy Gilmour, I'd be happy with that but desperately want him to pull some strings and get Gallagher on loan for the season as well. We'd need to stay up for that and after the season he's had I can see him pushing for a place at Chelsea.

Danny O’Neill
38 Posted 19/04/2022 at 18:44:22
Fair enough, Mal, and Keane has had some good games for Everton. But so have a lot of players over the last 30 years.

It depends what you want.

Michael Keane isn't it for me. As he wasn't for Manchester United.

Steve Shave
39 Posted 20/04/2022 at 10:00:25
I'm with others on here pushing for the club to build a side around a back four of Patterson, Godfrey, Branthwaite and Mykolenko next season. High potential, they just need to play together regularly and have belief shown in them from the staff and us fans.

I see Mitrovic has scored his 40th of the season for Marco, I know he is considered a bit of a donkey in the Premier League but I wanted us to buy him after I watched him single handedly destroy us in a consummate No 9 performance for Fulham a few years back. I think Marco took note, wishing him every success back in the Premier League next season.

I'm nervous about Leicester tonight, the defence needs to stay compact, hopefully (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Delph is fit and up for it.

Robert Tressell
40 Posted 20/04/2022 at 15:59:41
Steve @ 37. I'm working on the assumption that Gbamin is finished for us. I realise he's performing in Russia but still. Sad but something obviously not right.

As for Grillitsch, I assume he'll get offers from clubs in European competitions in Germany, Italy and Spain. Really good player but probably out of our league, given our lowly current status. He's the sort of player Seville buy, for example.

Gilmour is excellent but a bit like Xavi rather than the Busquets type we really need. Possibly Ethan Ampadu, another Chelsea loanee, could play that role for us. He's now at Venezia on loan after spells at Sheff Utd and Leipzig. Talented player with good physical attributes who might even be available to buy / option to buy given Chelsea's huge squad.

Bernie Quinn
41 Posted 23/04/2022 at 03:09:49
I can only wonder – Is Sky Sports a Registered Manchester United Supporters Club?
Matthew Williams
42 Posted 25/04/2022 at 13:16:49
If this happens, then our board really needs shooting!

Always impressed me, should have more game time, a real find that could be part of a decent-looking defence for many years to come.

Gary Jones
43 Posted 25/04/2022 at 13:51:49
My ONLY hope on relegation is it forces us to build a young team based on talented youth……Branthwaite, Gordon, Godfrey, Mykolenko, Patterson, Simms, Dobbin, Warrington are all key to that, and must not be sold under *any* circumstances this year.

Get Broadhead signed up for the championship year, and hope the likes of Price, Mills, Onyango and Nkounkou can step up too. Mix it with those who aren’t going to be easy to shift but can offer some experience to add to mix (Doucoure, Iwobi, Gray, Townsend, Rondon, Davies, Holgate, etc)

Should be enough to bounce straight back up…..should. Please God.

Kevin Molloy
44 Posted 25/04/2022 at 14:19:13

in my view, relegation will necessitate sales of anyone and everyone of value, just so we don't avoid a whopping fine for our crazy wage bill...

We will be left to play with the unshiftables, and hope we aren't docked loads of points.

Gary Jones
45 Posted 25/04/2022 at 14:57:41
Kevin, I can’t claim to be an expert in the rules about relegation and FFP, but from what I can see there is a grace period of one year to get your act in order (don’t have to submit accounts to EFL until December of second year).

It would be hugely risky to try and use the grace period though, and I’d expect that Pickford, Keane, Richarlison, DCL, Dele, Allan, Mina, etc. would all be added to Delph, Tosun, Kenny etc. moving on. We may even get token offers for the likes of Iwobi, Gray, Doucoure, Holgate, etc.

However, I think we’ve got to take another gamble and refuse to budge on the Branthwaite, Gordon, Godfrey, Mykolenko, Patterson, Simms, Dobbin, etc. at least for 2 years. They are the hope of return, and there has to be a dice rolled to make sure we do. If we’re selling them too, just wind the club up now…

Justin Doone
46 Posted 26/04/2022 at 14:24:40
I can easily imagine Branthwaite (Terry) and Godfrey (Rudiger) going to Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal or Man U.

Both very good, young, English centre backs. Probably get some additional money back for Godfrey, £40M (?) and half that for Branthwaite.

I'd rather see Keane, Holgate, Mina depart (in that order) but who would want them?

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