Liverpool’s Eyeing a Surprise Move for Branthwaite
In a turn of events that could unsettle the Merseyside equilibrium, Liverpool might just be in a prime position to make a bold play for Jarrad Branthwaite. This move comes in the wake of PSV’s decision to withdraw from the running due to financial constraints, considering Branthwaite’s price tag as too hefty.
The transition of players between these historic rivals isn’t exactly commonplace, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility either. The last such move took place in 2002, with Abel Xavier crossing over to the Reds. This time, Jurgen Klopp seems keen on strengthening his defensive line-up and the Evertonian Branthwaite might just be the answer.
A Sought-After Eredivisie Talent
Earlier this year, the Daily Mail highlighted Liverpool’s interest in the star on loan at the Eredivisie. Scouts from Manchester United and Roma were also seen observing the player’s commendable performance. As reported in Sport Witness, PSV’s director of football, Marcel Brands, stated that the permanent acquisition of Branthwaite would be “financially difficult to achieve”.
Liverpool, having a substantial economic advantage over PSV, could leverage this situation. This might lead to an unexpected bid for the 20-year-old English defender from Everton.
Why Branthwaite Fits the Bill for Liverpool
At first glance, a move to Liverpool for Branthwaite may seem unlikely. However, looking at the player’s stats and suitability, the idea is not too far-fetched. The young centre-back is tall, measuring 6 foot 5, and is a natural left-footed player. These attributes make him a viable alternative for Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool’s right-footed centre-half who generally patrols the left side of the defence.
Branthwaite’s record this season has been impressive. He made 37 appearances across all competitions, with a contribution of four goals and two assists. This performance led former coach Ruud van Nistelrooy to refer to him as a “great talent”.
According to FBref, Branthwaite’s statistics place him among the top 15% of centre-backs for goals, the top 24% for assists, and in the top quarter for progressive passes and interception rate per 90 minutes. Although there is potential for improvement, he is well-placed to evolve into one of the best in his position.
A Potential Successor to Matip?
Branthwaite, who was described as “skilful” by Carlo Ancelotti, could potentially replace Joel Matip. Matip is now 31, with his contract due to expire in a year. Despite his significant contributions to Liverpool’s storied history, Matip only made 12 starts in the Premier League this season. CBS reporter Nico Cantor referred to his performance this season as “awful”, casting doubts over his future at Anfield.
Branthwaite’s youthful energy could provide the much-needed zest to Liverpool’s backline, providing a buffer for Klopp’s team, and eventually cementing his own place in the squad over the next few seasons.
Liverpool fans should be on the lookout for this potential acquisition. Although the club’s primary focus will be on reinforcing their midfield, Branthwaite could prove to be a savvy addition to Anfield’s defensive contingent if the pieces fall into place. As reported by Sport Witness, this is indeed a development worth following closely.