Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag “is pushing” to secure the signature of Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite before the January transfer window closes, according to the Corriere Dello Sport.
The Italian website reports that the Red Devils are “working to close” the move this month, having tabled an offer in the region of £40m, including add-ons.
However, Everton are reluctant to let Branthwaite leave Goodison Park ahead of the deadline on Thursday and they would much prefer a departure at the end of the season.
Despite their stance, the Toffees are under pressure to sell due to breaches of the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability rules.
They have already been deducted 10 points and they are in danger of being penalised once again so Branthwaite’s sale could be forced upon them.
United do have rivals for the centre-back
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is a big fan of the 21-year-old, having worked with him during his time as Everton boss, and the Corriere Dello Sport claim that the La Liga club have enquired about the player’s availability.
Chelsea have also made an approach but it is believed that United are the only team to make a formal offer.
A deal for Branthwaite this month would be a surprise development
Before January, respected journalists, including Fabrizio Romano, reported that the Red Devils were on the lookout for a new centre-half so, in that context, their pursuit in Branthwaite is not a surprise.
Even so, doubts have been cast on the club’s ability to afford an expensive new addition in January, with United said to be having difficulties staying within Financial Fair Play rules themselves.
Despite the claims from Italy, you can’t see Branthwaite moving to Old Trafford before the summer, unless Everton are willing to agree to an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy at the beginning of July.