According to The Daily Mail, Manchester United are one of several sides said to be hot on the heels of Everton’s £1.8m-rated centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite.
What’s the word?
Branthwaite, who is currently on loan at Blackburn Rovers, finds himself on the Red Devils’ radar after excelling in the Championship this season thus far.
The 18-year-old has caught the eye after impressing at Ewood Park and it is believed a number of other unnamed clubs have kept tabs on the young centre-back.
The Mail have claimed Solskjaer wants to fend off the stiff competition for Branthwaite’s signature. His contract at Goodison Park is set to expire in 2022.
Eventual successor to Harry Maguire?
Despite his age, Branthwaite has arguably led from the back during his loan spell at Blackburn, just like Harry Maguire did at Sheffield United, racking up seven appearances for the Rovers since joining the club in January.
Maguire has now established himself as an integral part of Solskjaer’s side, marshalling his troops from the heart of the defence – this season alone has seen him start and feature in every single Premier League fixture so far.
In the teenager, Solskjaer could find someone very similar to the 27-year-old, despite their obvious differences in age, especially when you consider just how well he has performed for Tony Mowbray’s side this season.
The England U19 international is averaging an impressive 2.7 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game, which ranks him very favourably when you compare him to the club captain, who himself has only managed 0.8 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per 90 in the Premier League, via WhoScored.
In fact, only Aaron Wan-Bissaka has averaged more tackles per match with 3.1, while no other player can better his interception success rate.
But Ed Woodward may have his work cut out should he try to bring him to Old Trafford in the summer, as Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly a ‘big fan‘ of the teenage prospect.
By getting him, however, he could land a player who has shown that he is fully capable of playing second-fiddle to the likes of Maguire and Victor Lindelof for a fraction of the price it would’ve cost to sign a player like Dayot Upamecano.
AND in other news, Forget Kingsley Coman: Man Utd should sign Jadon Sancho instead…