Man Utd eyeing “monster” £80m Casemiro upgrade

    The lion’s share of the Premier League‘s competitors are done and dusted after the denouement of another thrilling campaign, though Greater Manchester is yet to bow out ahead of the summer’s international football.

    Indeed, Manchester City will defend their FA Cup title in the final against neighbours Manchester United after beating Erik ten Hag‘s team in the previous year’s trophy decider.

    A pretty dour league campaign has left Man United nursing their wounds after finishing eighth and thus failing to qualify for Europe – though defeating Pep Guardiola’s winning-machine outfit will provide a glittering route into next season’s Europa League.

    Regardless of the outcome, change is afoot at Old Trafford, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS officials determined to root out the rot at the Theatre of Dreams and bring in some steel and style to lift this prestigious club back to the forefront of the domestic and continental game.

    Man United eyeing Premier League star

    Where do Manchester United need to improve this summer? It’s a good question, and while there are several glaring areas of concern, few would dispute that incoming sporting director Dan Ashworth must strengthen the defence.

    And so it’s hardly surprising that transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has recently revealed that United are set to be in the market for a centre-half or two this summer, though sorting the future of Ten Hag will take immediate precedence.

    Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite

    Still, according to the respected Italian journalist, Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite is among the players that Man United “like” and could be set for a move in the coming months.

    United have been linked with the Toffees star on many occasions over the past year and rumours are starting to hot up, with Football Insider reporting in April that Man United are eager to help ameliorate Everton’s financial problems by signing the England international before June’s financial deadline.

    Sean Dyche’s outfit will reportedly demand as much as £80m for their prized possession. Will United pay that much? Perhaps not. But there is every chance that a deal will be struck in the months to come for one of Europe’s most exciting young defenders.

    Jarrad Branthwaite’s season in numbers

    Branthwaite, who is 21, enjoyed an impressive loan spell with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, featuring 36 times, and returned to Merseyside with the right set of skills to succeed in the Premier League.

    Now hailed as an “absolute monster” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, Branthwaite has been a core member of an Everton team that has battled through the thunderous financial turmoil that has stripped eight points from their seasonal Premier League tally to still record a 15th-place finish and yield the best defensive record of any side not finishing in the top-three.

    As per FBref, Branthwaite ranks among the top 20% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for goals scored, the top 17% for interceptions, the top 21% for tackles and the top 18% for aerial duels won per 90. This is a promising core clutch of qualities ahead of a long and expectedly fruitful career in his homeland.

    Lofty price tag? Sure. Worth the pursuit? Definitely. Branthwaite is exactly the type of player that INEOS need to target to ensure that United escape from the murky mire that has entrapped the club for many interminable years.

    How Jarrad Branthwaite could fit in at Man United

    Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez would have formed the central defensive axis at Manchester United had they been fit, but alas, both have been consigned to testing terms given respective battles on form and fitness fronts.

    Manchester United player Casemiro

    United, for all their faults, have been blighted by luckless injury fortunes this season that have seen Casemiro shoehorned into the backline at this late stage of the campaign – something that has led to several horror shows and criticism from Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp, who rather brutally said that he “looks like he’s in Soccer Aid“.

    Branthwaite must be signed to take Man United back to a position of power, especially given that Raphael Varane is poised to depart upon the expiry of his contract next month.

    PL 23/24: Branthwaite vs Maguire & Casemiro





    Matches played




    Matches started












    Clean sheets




    Pass completion




    Touches per game




    Tackles per game




    Interceptions per game




    Clearances per game




    Recoveries per game




    Duels won per game

    5.3 (68%)

    4.7 (66%)

    5.8 (52%)

    All stats via Sofascore

    Branthwaite is simply better, at this stage of his career, than United’s existing options – Lisandro Martinez, who has endured an injury-ruined campaign, notwithstanding.

    More robust, more reliable, more durable, more athletic and active, more organised, more accurate in the duel. Certainly, his impressive metrics for Dyche’s side fall down to the system and structure but this doesn’t negate Branthwaite’s quality: it accentuates it.

    Casemiro, it’s important to note, has spent most of his season in his natural position in midfield, but he hasn’t looked fit or formidable enough to continue at Manchester United if Ratcliffe and co wish for the Theatre to become a place of dreams once more.

    The distinguished Brazilian enjoyed a much-improved performance on the Premier League’s final day, as United defeated Brighton & Hove Albion, though it remains the case that after a long and illustrious career, this titan of the game might be entering the downward spin toward obscurity.

    Branthwaite, conversely, has barely scratched the surface of what promises to be a successful career, and given that the Everton ace has already been praised for his “magnificent” performances by pundit Alan Shearer – who recognises a tough defender when he sees one – he might just be the perfect cog to steel-enforce the new era at Old Trafford.

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