Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are ahead of the queue in the race to sign Everton starlet Jarrad Branthwaite, per the Daily Mail.
The 21-year-old has emerged as a top performer for the Toffees in a tumultuous campaign that has seen them docked ten points for breaching Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR). They are fighting to avoid relegation with further charges hanging over their head.
The Carlisle-born centre-back has emerged as a force in the centre of defence alongside England international James Tarkowski.
Branthwaite is a sturdy defender in the air, using his 6ft5 frame to tower over attackers. He is also quick across the ground, allowing him to keep up with pacey forwards.
He has won 67% of his aerial and 69% of his ground duels, helping the Merseyside club keep seven clean sheets in 21 league appearances.
Branthwaite has emerged as a top target for Manchester United. The Red Devils want to revamp their backline with younger defenders and have their eye on the former Carlisle United star.
They have other targets on their shortlist, but he is reportedly atop the list, and the incoming Ineos Group will be keen on signing him this summer.
United might need to replace one of Raphael Varane or Jonny Evans, and the Everton man is the preferred choice.
Tottenham also have eyes on Branthwaite as they look to bolster their ranks for a title challenge under manager Ange Postecoglou.
They have Micky van de Ven, Radu Dragusin, and Cristian Romero and could further strengthen their rearguard with the addition of Branthwaite.
Branthwaite’s performances have earned him the interest of Arsenal, Chelsea, and even Real Madrid, but United and Tottenham are ahead in the race for the England youth international.
The fight for his signature this summer could be one exciting story to anticipate in the summer transfer window.