Manchester United have been linked with a move for Everton prospect Jarrad Branthwaite, report The Mail.

Like Teden Mengi, Branthwaite is 18 and already out on loan at a Championship club.

He is impressing on loan for Blackburn where he has played seven times so far.

Branthwaite is left-footed, reported to be crucial in United’s pursuit of a defender. ESPN claimed United backed out of a move for Dayot Upamecano in part because he was right-footed and the club are searching for more defensive balance.

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Who is Jarrad Branthwaite?

Everton signed Branthwaite in January 2020 in a £1 million deal from Carlisle United.

It didn’t take him long to make an impression. Branthwaite made his first team debut for Everton in July, making four appearances.

He then featured in the Carabao Cup early this season but has not played since, so was sent out on loan.

Speaking after his debut in July, manager Carlo Ancelotti told Everton’s website: “He showed quality and personality and character.

“He is really calm with the ball, really comfortable, and really aggressive without the ball. He can be a fantastic player for us.”

Could a deal really be done?

It’s hard to see Everton wanting to sell such a promising prospect to Manchester United.

The one aspect working in favour of a potential deal is the length of Branthwaite’s contract.

When he signed for Everton it was a two-and-a-half year deal, meaning his current contract is set to expire in June 2022.

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If he decides to hold out for a move to United rather than extending his contract at Everton, then it could get difficult for The Toffees, forcing them into a sale.

However you can imaging them being extremely reluctant to sanction a sale and United would probably end up being over charged.

Branthwaite does look like a good prospect and he is a name to watch. But this one is weighted more towards ‘unlikely’ than ‘likely’, with the most probable resolution being a contract extension at Everton.

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