The Sun on Sunday (1/12 page; 67), reports that Rangers are set for a battle with both Newcastle United and Southampton for Carlisle United’s Jarrad Branthwaite.
It’s further suggested that the Saints are currently in pole position for his signature.
17-year-old Branthwaite made his first-team debut this season and to date has turned out six times in League Two.
The centre-back has also made solitary appearances in both the FA Cup and the EFL Trophy, showing that despite his age, he can cope with the demands of senior football.
Rangers in chase with Newcastle and Southampton for defender – Verdict
We know very little about Branthwaite, so it’s difficult to make a judgement at this early stage. However, the fact that two Premier League clubs are interested suggests he has plenty of talent.
The aspect that stands out straight away is his height. He’s listed by Transfermarkt as standing at 1.95m, which equates to 6ft 4″. If that’s accurate, it puts him on a par with Gers colossuses Filip Helander and Nikola Katic.
With all four of Steven Gerrard’s current senior centre-backs tied to long-term deals, though, it’s hard to see where he would fit in, should the club move for him in January. After all, it’s highly unlikely that a player would leave the EFL to play Colts level football.
Swooping for him would also be a kick in the teeth for the likes of Lewis Mayo, a homegrown centre-back who scored at Ibrox in pre-season and is currently trying to make the step up to the first-team squad.
Any offer in the upcoming window would need to involve a fee, with the teenager contracted to Carlisle until 2021 with an option to extend for another year. [Transfermarkt].