Manchester United are close to announcing their third transfer of the summer window but a lot of work remains to be done as seen from their US pre-season tour.
While the Reds began impressively, their performances fizzled out in the end and while a lot has been written about the team’s toothless attack, question marks have been raised on the defence.
In the last two high-profile games against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, the team conceded five goals, something that has not impressed manager Erik ten Hag.
United could do with defensive additions
But before the window had opened, there was a clamour for a new defender considering the uncertain future of Harry Maguire and the drop-off in quality when it came to the backup centre-backs.
Victor Lindelof filled in for Lisandro Martinez last season but he committed a grave error against the Bundesliga runners-up on Monday, highlighting the need to bring in another top-quality centre-back.
With Raphael Varane being rested as precaution and considering his poor injury record, another centre-back seems to be a logical addition this window.
Simon Jones, writing in The Daily Mail’s Transfer Confidential newsletter, reported that Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite has emerged as a surprise target while Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo remains in the reckoning as well.
“Nice’s much-improved defender Jean-Clair Todibo has come back into the reckoning while Everton’s left-sided centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite, who impressed scouts while on loan at PSV Eindhoven last season, is a surprise name that has been floated.”
Branthwaite is a strong choice considering the season he just had at PSV Eindhoven while on loan. He played 36 times for the first-team last season in all competitions, scoring four goals and providing two assists.
Branthwaite a potential target
The 21-year-old helped keep 12 clean-sheets, with Red Devils legend and then-PSV manager Ruud van Nistelrooy labelling him a “great talent”.
Everton are expected to play him this season but with the Toffees struggling due to budget issues and with a striker high on their transfer agenda, United could test the waters with a cheeky bid.
The 6 ft 5 in defender is valued at €10million as per Transfermarkt but Everton will want much more considering they rebuffed PSV’s attempts at permanently signing the starlet for £15million in January.
The England U21 international is left-footed and can play as the left-back if needed, which makes him a profile to keep an eye on.