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Manchester United had scouts at Everton vs Aston Villa game to monitor Jarrad Branthwaite’s continued progress

Manchester United had scouts at the game between Everton and Aston Villa on Sunday to check on Jarrad Branthwaite’s continued progress, according to the Daily Mail’s Transfer Confidential newsletter.

The Red Devils want to bolster their options at the back and the England youth international centre-back has been on their radar for a while.

Branthwaite has established himself as a key player for the Toffees since returning from a successful loan spell at PSV Eindhoven last summer, featuring in 18 Premier League games this season.

The 21-year-old played in the goalless draw against Villa at Goodison Park yesterday, playing a huge role as Everton frustrated the visitors.

It was the first time a club managed by Unai Emery had played 0-0 in the Premier League, and Branthwaite will have impressed the representatives from Man United in the crowd.

Former PSV boss Ruud van Nistelrooy was keen to keep the defender permanently, but a deal could not materialise.

“We would like [to keep him beyond this season],” the Dutchman said last February. “He is a great talent. The boy is 20, but he has a future.

“He is good on the ball, can play on the left or the right of centre-back because he is two-footed. He has height and speed, so he is very complete.”

Man United need reinforcements at the back given their ageing options in central defence and the constant injury woes which have beleaguered them in the position this term, and Branthwaite fits the bill.

He won two aerial duels and four tackles yesterday, completing 76% of his passes, and his ability to also play at left-back could come in handy at the Theatre of Dreams.

However, a January deal is unlikely to be feasible, and Man United may need to wait until the summer transfer window before going after their man.

Real Madrid also have the Everton star on their radar, so the Red Devils have stiff competition on their hands as they look to lure him to Old Trafford.