Manchester United’s defence has a threadbare look about it currently with four out of five senior centre-back options sidelined at the moment.

Injuries have meant manager Erik ten Hag has constantly had to shuffle his pack and this has not allowed the team to settle and goals have been conceded with alarming regularity.

The Red Devils have conceded three or more goals 14 times across all competitions this season and the team also let in the second-most goals in this season’s Champions League group stages.

Multiple defenders could also be on the move with both Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans’ deals expiring in June while both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have been linked with exits.

Defensive overhaul on the cards

New co-owners INEOS have plans to strengthen at the back and are potentially looking to add more than one defender to their ranks and one name that has been a constant in the rumour mill is Jarrad Branthwaite.

The Everton star is young, British and Premier League-proven, all highly-rated traits, and with the Toffees under financial pressure to sell, United were hoping for a cut-price deal for the 21-year-old.

The team from Merseyside need to balance their books within June and there were reports indicating that Sean Dyche’s side would be willing to reduce their asking price from the earlier indicated ludicrous £100 million.

As relayed by The Peoples Person, the 20-time English league champions were confident of agreeing a deal for around £60-70 million.

Now Football Insider have reported that Everton are trying their best to keep hold of the England international for one more season.

Talks are expected to be held once the campaign concludes and Everton will try to agree a verbal commitment which will see Branthwaite leave in 2025.

Everton trying to keep Jarrad

“Everton are trying to persuade Jarrad Branthwaite to stay for one more season, sources have told Football Insider.

“The 21-year-old, who has made 38 appearances in all competitions this season, would then be allowed to leave in the summer of 2025.

“Crunch talks will be held between the player’s camp and Everton at the end of the current campaign.”

The Toffees could potentially sell other players to raise capital but Branthwaite is their most sellable asset with Manchester City and Real Madrid also in the race.

It would be a big blow for United if they fail to sign their top-priority defensive target this summer. Expect more twists and turns regarding Branthwaite’s future before the summer window commences.

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