According to the latest reports from Sunderland Echo, Rangers are in the mix to sign Carlisle United’s young defensive ace Jarrad Branthwaite. Arch-rivals Celtic are also said to be interested, but it is Newcastle United from the Premier League who are said to be in the driver’s seat to sign the 17-year-old.
Branthwaite broke into Carlisle United’s first team earlier this year when he was just 16. The centre back has made eight appearances in all competitions this season and has shown impressive signs. Newcastle United are in the driver’s seat because they have the first refusal on the player who was part of the deal for Elias Sorensen who went from St. James’s Park to the Brunton Park on a season-long loan in the summer.
The defender has his contract at the club until 2021 and Carlisle United have an option to extend it further for a year. It remains to be seen what kind of price tag the young centre back would be carrying with Premier League clubs also in the mix.
One for the future for Rangers?
The Bears currently have four decent centre back alternatives in Connor Goldson, Filip Helander, Nikola Katic and George Edmundson. Out of the lot, Edmundson and Katic are still relatively young. Nevertheless, it is always good to see young players coming in, and Branthwaite will likely be an option for the future as he is still just 17. He could be ready to play Premiership football in two years.
What can Branthwaite offer?
Standing in at 6ft4, the defender is understandably dominant in the air. He has the qualities which all modern-day managers want in a centre back as Branthwaite shows good composure on the ball and can play out from the back. He is no slouch on the pitch given his frame as his sprint speed can take the opposition attackers by surprise.
However, he is far from a finished product, and he needs more tactical awareness and more physical development to play in the Scottish league. The raw ingredients are certainly there, and Branthwaite is one player to watch out for in a few years.
Gerrard should look to sign the youngster either in January or in the summer. Maybe the club could loan him back to the League Two outfit for a season. However, as mentioned, the Magpies have the first refusal on the player so Rangers might not get lucky if the Tyneside outfit decides to snap him first.
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