Rangers and Celtic target Branthwaite set to join Everton - report
Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Rangers and Celtic target Branthwaite set to join Everton - report

According to Sky Sports via the Scottish Sun, Rangers and Celtic target Jarrad Branthwaite is set to join Premier League outfit, Everton.

The 17-year-old defender currently plays for Carlisle United and has attracted interest all over the UK with his performances this season.

Branthwaite in action against Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Cup. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

He’s made 14 senior appearances to date, helping to keep clean sheets in each of his last three outings in all competitions.

Glasgow’s big two are said to have been tracking Branthwaite since November, having sent scouts south of the border to watch him in action [Scottish Sun].

However, it seems that Everton have won the race for his signature, with the Toffees set to pay a fee in the region of £750,000 to release him from his current contract.

Carlo Ancelotti has recently taken over as manager at Goodison Park and is hoping to steer the club back into the top half of the Premier League table.

Branthwaite looks set to join Ancelotti at Everton. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Verdict

It’s tough to say at this point how big a blow it is for the Gers to miss out on Branthwaite.

Clearly, he’s a highly-rated young player, who has made a big impression during his breakthrough season in senior football.

Yet, right now, Steven Gerrard is well-stocked at centre-back. With Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic, Filip Helander and George Edmundson – who himself came from EFL League Two in the summer – there are four senior central defenders at the club.

What’s more, with the likes of Lewis Mayo starring at Development level, there’s backup there should injuries strike.

The club are placing emphasis on creating a pathway between the Academy and the first-team, and bringing in someone like Branthwaite from elsewhere may have been disheartening for homegrown players trying to make the step up.