Manchester United Deal for £75m Defender Gathering Pace

Manchester United are once again looking to add to their defense, after it was announced that Raphael Varane would leave at the end of his contract
Manchester United target Jarrad Branthwaite vs Bosnia & Herzegovina
Manchester United target Jarrad Branthwaite vs Bosnia & Herzegovina / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Manchester United, after finishing 8th in the Premier League, are looking to bolster their defense. The announcement that Champions League winner Raphael Varane would depart at the end of his contract wasn't necessarily a shock, as the player has struggled with injuries this season for United. Now, the Red Devils are looking to fill that void.

After an impressive campaign with Everton, defender Jarrad Branthwaite has drawn interest from Manchester United, with the heirarchy aiming to have a deal done by the end of this month. Erik Ten Hag already has one left-footed central defender in Lisandro Martinez, although his presence was sorely missed throughout this past season for Manchester United as he was out for a large chunk to multiple injuries. Branthwaite would be expected to join up alongside him in the starting XI right away.

Without question, the fact that Branthwaite played part in 35 matches this season is a factor in United's Interest, as that longevity and consistency in Everton's defense throughout the campaign is what Manchester United desperately need from their defense. Injuries stopped United at almost every turn this past year, and somebody like Branthwaite would be an incredible addition.

In Jarrad Branthwaite, Manchester United would be getting another smooth operator on the ball, capable of playing a variety of passes, comfortable on two feet, and can play out from the back as Ten Hag desperately desires his teams to do. With a pass completion rate of just over 80 percent last season at Everton at just 21 years of age, there's only one way to go for him, and that's up.

Quite frankly, not trying to make this deal happen would be a big mistake for Manchester United. If they don't move for Branthwaite, there are others lingering around this deal, with one team in particular that Manchester United won't like. The £75 million price tag does seem a bit hefty, and United seems to value him more in the £40-£45 million range. Given Everton's FFP charges, it seems highly unlikely that they are going to budge on their valuation of a prized asset such as Jarrad Branthwaite.

Undoubtedly, Manchester United is going to have to hike up any potential bid or this deal might fall into the hands of some unwanted suitors and competitors for Erik Ten Hag and his men. I think in the long run, a player of Branthwaite's quality and age presents a lot more pros than cons, making this deal worth it. Finding that sweet spot on the price will be Manchester United's biggest challenge.