Everton have officially completed the signing of Rangers linked 17-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite from Carlisle United for an undisclosed fee.
✍️ | We have completed the signing of Jarrad Branthwaite from Carlisle United on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
The 17-year-old defender will link up with #EFCU23! 🙌
— Everton (@Everton) January 13, 2020
The Scottish Sun reported in December that the Gers and Celtic had scouted the central defender with a view to January moves, but he won’t be heading north of the border after all.
Branthwaite has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Goodison and will initially play for the club’s U23 side.
“The pathway is superb – that’s what made me want to join Everton,” he told evertonfc.com. “I’ve seen those players [Holgate, Davies and Calvert-Lewin] get their chance in the first team and do well.”
“I just can’t wait to get started. Everton is a big club and I’m buzzing to be here.”
Amid reported interest from a multitude of clubs, Branthwaite has opted for the Toffees, ensuring the Gers have missed out.
This is no major issue, though, for reasons we’ve previously pointed to.
Clearly, the teenager is a highly-rated defender, a player who, despite his age, mustered eleven senior appearances for Carlisle over the first half of the season.
However, there was no need for another centre-back at Ibrox. In Connor Goldson, George Edmundson, Nikola Katic and Fiip Helander, the Gers already have four senior central defenders.
Meanwhile, there’s several talented homegrown defenders coming through the ranks who may have been perturbed had the club forked out for Branthwaite.
19-year-old Lewis Mayo was in Dubai for the mid-season training camp, showing him to be on the fringes of the senior squad, while the extremely talented Leon King, who turns 16 today, is said to be seeking assurances on the pathway at Ibrox before penning a first professional deal [Scottish Sun].