Tottenham Hotspur are not ending their long-standing interest in Jarrad Branthwaite despite having signed two centre-backs across the last two transfer windows.
The London club added Dutch defender Micky van de Ven to their ranks in the summer before re-entering the market to sign Radu Dragusin earlier this month. Nonetheless, The Daily Mail reveals this will not end Spurs’ pursuit of Everton centre-back Branthwaite.
The club have dispatched scouts to watch the 21-year-old and are believed to be impressed with what they have seen. They are also said to value his homegrown status with the three existing first-team centre-backs all external imports.
They are not alone in this appreciation of Branthwaite, however.
Manchester United are believed to have identified the centre-back as their “top defensive target” this summer as the club contemplates a comprehensive overhaul of Erik ten Hag’s back line.
The Dutchman’s squad has been ravaged by injuries this season with the centre backs feeling the brunt of this issue. Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have all faced extended periods on the sideline through either injury or absence.
Furthermore, there are thoughts to be doubts over both the compatibility of these defenders, as well as concerns over age and their suitability to the demands Ten Hag places on his centre-backs.
Neither Varane nor Maguire are comfortable fits in the Dutch manager’s style and both will turn 32 next season. Martinez and Lindelof are more in line with Ten Hag’s preferences, as well as 26 and 29 respectively, but both are susceptible aerially.
United are likely to target a more physically dominant centre-back to compliment the pair in place of either Varane or Maguire. Should both depart Old Trafford, United could sign not one but two centre-backs.
Standing an imposing 6’5, Branthwaite fits the bill perfectly. He is also excellent on the ball, comfortable in possession when pressed and capable of playing out from the back. He appears the quintessential modern defender who is also well-suited to the rigours of the Premier League.
His performances have been so impressive at the heart of Everton’s defence that it’s believed Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and even Real Madrid have joined Spurs and United in the race for his services.
With Everton facing the increasing pressure of financial fair play regulations, the Merseyside club will be in need of a cash injection this summer to avoid penalties such as the one they received in November. As such, a premier young talent like Branthwaite may be available for one of these clubs to capitalise upon.