Everton reportedly initiated discussions with 21-year-old defender Jarrad Branthwaite regarding a new contract, a move seen as an effort to ward off interest from Manchester United, relays the TeamTalk.
Branthwaite, often regarded as one of the Premier League’s most promising young center-backs, is poised to play a pivotal role under manager Sean Dyche’s leadership.
The talented defender enjoyed a successful season-long loan spell with PSV Eindhoven last season, amassing 36 appearances across all competitions and contributing two goals to aid the Dutch giants in securing the KNVB Cup.
Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has long been an admirer of Branthwaite. He considered securing the young star’s services during the summer transfer window in his quest to bolster his defensive lineup and is expected to reignite his interest in January.
However, the Red Devils were unable to strike a deal with Everton during the summer, and their window of opportunity may have closed as a result.
Although Branthwaite initially began the season as a backup to Michael Keane in Everton’s defensive hierarchy, he has since established himself as a fixture in the starting lineup, consistently playing the full 90 minutes over the course of the last four matches.
His standout performance alongside James Tarkowski in Everton’s recent 3-1 victory against Brentford further underscores his potential and value to the team. As such, it comes as no surprise that Dyche is eager to secure his long-term commitment.
The Athletic reports that Everton has “opened talks” with Branthwaite concerning a new contract, a proactive measure to dissuade potential suitors.
Branthwaite’s existing contract extends until 2025, with Everton holding an option to extend it for an additional year. The club intends to offer improved terms to align his wages with those of other first-team players.
Everton’s management recognizes Branthwaite’s vast potential and views him as a player still in the developmental phase of his career.
Some Everton supporters have drawn comparisons between Branthwaite and a young John Stones, who enjoyed a successful stint at Goodison Park. If Branthwaite can replicate even a fraction of Stones’ achievements, he could become a pivotal figure for Everton in the years to come.