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United In Race for Everton Star – Rating the Rumour

Can Everton Centre Back Be a Long Term Fit At Man United?

Welcome back to Rating the Rumour, which does exactly what it says on the tin. We’ll be taking the biggest transfer rumours related to Premier League teams and rating the likelihood of the moves coming to fruition.

The final rating will be decided based on the potential fit of the player into the rumoured buying club, the need for that club to sign a player for the position played, whether the player is of the level required by the club, whether the club could afford the rumoured price and whether or not the player is even likely to be available for transfer.

We will not factor in the reliability of the rumour, as it would likely cause mass amounts of crying from outlets, journalists and “journalists” who would have to be denounced as spoofers.

With the ground rules laid out, let’s look at Jarrad Branthwaite to Manchester United which has been reported by the Daily Mail.

Fit

Branthwaite is the type of centre-back that every team is looking to add. With his blend of size, athleticism and ability on the ball he is the prototype of the modern central defender who enables his team to play a front-footed, pressing style of football that can often leave the team short of numbers at the back.

Branthwaite is comfortable in both a back four as either the left-sided central defender or the left back if the team wants to play more defensive, or in a back three where he can fill either the central or left-sided roles.

That type of flexibility further adds to his malleability. Branthwaite is a fit for any club.

Fit Rating – 2/2

Need

In the summer of 2022 Manchester United invested heavily in Lisandro Martinez to fill their left side central defensive role. There have been two issues with Martinez, one being that he’s 5’9 and as per FBRef is winning only 37.5% of his aerial duels this season.

It’s not just that he doesn’t win his duels, he barely contests any – 1.3 aerial duels per 90. He has the lowest numbers for aerial wins, and win % in the entirety of Europe’s top five leagues. That makes him a huge weak link for United.

The other issue is that he gets injured. A lot. So United will certainly have a need. Someone like Brathwaite who actually contests aerials would certainly be an upgrade.

Need Rating – 2/2

Level

This is Branthwaite’s first season in the Premier League and thus far it’s been a massive success. His partnership with James Tarkowski has been the lone bright spot in Everton’s season and represents the primary reason for them still being favoured to avoid relegation despite their current league position.

Given Branthwaite is only 21 it is probably safe to assume that he will develop significantly in the coming years, and if he’s this good already then the sky may be the limit

Level Rating – 2/2

Affordability

Everton have serious financial issues that will require them to sell some big ticket items in the summer, with Amadou Onana and Branthwaite being the ones most likely to fetch big fees.

That’s not to say that the Toffees will sell cheap. Quite the opposite. Everton will demand full value for their two young stars and given the rarity of Branthwaite’s profile, his age and his potential you’d imagine United would be looking at a fee similar to that which they splashed out for Harry Maguire some years ago.

That may well be beyond what the Old Trafford club are willing to pay.

Affordability Rating – 1/2

For Sale?

As stated above, Everton have financial problems. They would prefer not to sell Branthwaite but finances will likely dictate that they have no choice.

Availability Rating – 1/2

Final Rating

Overall this rumour rates out at an 8/10. It’s a move that would make sense for all parties, even if Everton would prefer not to sell. It would give them some breathing room financially, and money to begin a much needed rebuild of their stadium. United would get a top young defender with a big future ahead of him. And the player would get a move to a top club, and the top contract that comes with such a move.

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