Man Utd transfer target backed to snub City move as Sir Jim Ratcliffe looks to get his way | Football | Sport

Manchester United have been backed to beat rivals Manchester City to the summer signing of Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite. The Toffees may look to sell the highly-rated defender to help balance their books at the end of the season.

Branthwaite has attracted interest from both Manchester clubs. The 21-year-old may have to make a tough decision between the reigning Treble winners and a club hoping to rekindle their glory years under new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Broadcaster Jeff Stelling believes Branthwaite will sensationally snub City in favour of United. The likelihood of regular game time in a defence that has struggled for form and fitness this season could be too good for the centre-back to turn down.

Lisandro Martinez is the only recognised first-team centre-back at United who will still be in their 20s next season. Stelling says that a move to United could make sense for all parties, with United needing young defenders and Everton requiring a big summer pay day.

“It’s going to happen isn’t it because Everton need the money and their biggest asset, their most-sellable asset is 21-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite,” the legendary former Sky Sports anchor told TalkSPORT.

“He’s made 31 appearances for Everton this season, in the England squad. I think he’ll find himself at Old Trafford.

“Never mind Manchester City, it will be Old Trafford I would imagine because with the likes of Lindelof, Varane and Maguire all ageing players, they need to bring in some youth. I’m thinking £45million, something like that for Branthwaite would do the job.”

INEOS chief Ratcliffe is likely to oversee an overhaul of Erik ten Hag’s squad, whether the Dutchman remains as head coach or not. Defender Raphael Varane could depart when his contract expires at the end of the season, while there is uncertainty over the future of the veteran Jonny Evans.

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