Manchester United was once a club that dominated English football. However, they have seen a massive decrease in performance levels and standards over the last decade. The second-most decorated club in England are now sixth in the Premier League and dumped out of Europe.
Furthermore, Erik ten Hag has picked up an unwanted record this week, as his side now has the worst defensive record ever by an English team in the Champions League group stages.
Therefore, the Red Devils will turn to the transfer market in January in an attempt to reinforce their defensive department.
Man Utd transfers latest – Jarrad Branthwaite
According to TEAMtalk, Manchester United are interested in signing Jarrad Branthwaite from Everton this January after keeping a close eye on the defender for over a year.
The Toffees view Branthwaite as one of the best defenders in the English top flight, and they will hope to secure £75m for him.
Sean Dyche’s side is willing to let him go in order to collect funds, which will help bolster their squad and improve the financial fair play situation.
Jarrad Branthwaite’s style of play
The Manchester United faithful have previously witnessed a top young centre-back joining from another English club, and Ten Hag will be hoping that Branthwaite will become his left-footed version of Rio Ferdinand.
Since returning to the Toffees after a loan spell at PSV, the England U21 international has simply been phenomenal, playing a huge role in a rather impressive Everton side. He has started every game that he’s been available for, making 14 appearances, keeping five clean sheets, and forming a formidable partnership alongside James Tarkowski.
The 21-year-old is an extremely composed defender who provides a sense of calmness to the rest of the backline, whether that is in or out of possession. However, he plays with controlled aggression and intensity, which allows him to enter duels with attackers while rarely making a mistake. A close match to the aforementioned Ferdinand who was a composed but monstrous presence at the back.
The Everton man has been described as a “wall” by scout Jacek Kulig, which is rather appropriate considering he stands at 6 foot 5. A player of such size usually has issues with mobility, but Branthwaite is deceivingly fast and dynamic, using his long legs to catch up to even the quickest players in the Premier League and come out on top in 1v1 situations.
He displays maturity and takes a proactive approach to defending, anticipating forward passes and stealing the ball off the targeted striker, which would suit Manchester United brilliantly. Below are some key statistics from this season that underline his importance.
|Stats (per 90)
|Stats via FBref
It is clear that Branthwaite is a player who loves to defend and enjoys the physical side of the game just as much as the beautiful side.
The youngster would walk into United’s team, where he would be able to display his progressive on-the-ball ability much more than he does at Everton. It is no wonder United Legend and ex-PSV manager Ruud Van Nistelrooy loves him, hailing his “great talent” and “two-footed” abilities.