Man Utd: Ratcliffe has ‘top-end valuation’ for defender with two alternatives on Ten Hag’s ‘radar’

Jason Soutar
Man Utd-linked Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite makes a tackle during a match
Jarrad Branthwaite makes a tackle during a match

According to reports, Manchester United have not yet given up in their pursuit of Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite but Sir Jim Ratcliffe is looking at ‘other options’.

The Red Devils have made the signing of a new central defender a priority this summer and are targeting the England and Everton youngster.

Branthwaite, 21, played 35 times in the Premier League in 2023/24 and was one of the best defenders in the division as the Toffees avoided relegation relatively comfortably.

He was named in England’s preliminary squad for Euro 2024 but did not make the cut, meaning he is currently on the beach as Man Utd and Everton negotiate a transfer.

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Erik ten Hag’s side have come in with an opening offer believed to be in the region of £35million but Everton are hoping for double that amount.

Man Utd owner Ratcliffe is adamant he will not overpay for Branthwaite as he bids to stop the club from being rinsed in the transfer market.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Sean Dyche’s side will budge, though they are under pressure to sell players due to the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules.

Man Utd have also been linked with OGC Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo but are unable to sign him due to UEFA’s multi-club ownership rules. In case you weren’t aware, Ratcliffe also owns Nice.

Lille teenager Leny Yoro is another player they are looking at but he is believed to be prioritising a move to European champions Real Madrid.

Man Utd have two ‘on their radar’ but ‘not giving up on’ Branthwaite deal

The Premier League giants do have these options ‘on their radar’, says transfer expert Ben Jacobs, though they ‘haven’t given up’ on signing Branthwaite.

Jacobs says Everton are referencing Man Utd’s £80m signing of Harry Maguire from Leicester City in 2019 in negotiations but Ratcliffe is reluctant to pay any more than £60m.

Jacobs wrote in his CaughtOffside column:

Manchester United still want Jarrad Branthwaite but have other options on their radar as well.

Manchester United haven’t given up on Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite after seeing a £43m offer rejected.

Everton don’t want to sell Branthwaite, and will be in a stronger position to rebuff offers should Dominic Calvert-Lewin depart in the coming days or weeks.

Everton value Branthwaite at in excess of £70m, and point to Manchester United’s £80m purchase of Harry Maguire from Leicester as a fair yardstick for valuation.

It’s understood Manchester United don’t wish to go above a £60m package as a very top-end valuation.

Bringing in a centre-back is a big priority. United are also in the mix for Lille’s Leny Yoro, although Real Madrid are clear frontrunners.

Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo won’t be possible due to UEFA rules. With Nice and Manchester United both playing in the Europa League, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe owning the former and controlling the sporting side at the latter, a transfer would be blocked. UEFA would treat Todibo going to Manchester United as creating a “competitive imbalance”.

Manchester United could yet enter the race for Wolves captain Max Kilman as well. West Ham are currently favourites and are preparing a second offer. Wolves value Kilman at £45m, and although they don’t want to lose their captain, they would likely sell at that price.

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