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Sir Jim Ratcliffe eyes Jarrad Branthwaite as his first signing at Man Utd

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has his sights on signing Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite on a cut-price deal this summer, according to The Sun.

The Red Devils are expected to reinforce their central defensive department with Raphael Varane set to leave on a free transfer. Jonny Evans could also depart at the end of his contract next month.

Branthwaite has been identified as the priority target and The Sun claim that Ratcliffe aims to capitalise on the Toffees’ financial woes to sign him for around £40 million.

The Merseyside outfit value their prized asset at £80m, but could be forced to accept half the price with their £500m takeover from 777 Partners on the verge of collapse.

This could compel owner Farhad Moshiri to accept cut-price deals to balance the club’s books. Ratcliffe aims to start his United era on a high with the acquisition of Branthwaite.

Ratcliffe can make a statement with cut-price Branthwaite deal

Crystal Palace co-owner John Textor is looking to sell his 45 per cent stake at the London club. He has expressed his desire to purchase the Toffees if the 777 Partners takeover falls through.

However, there is no assurance over a potential deal within the next few weeks.

The Toffees need to recoup funds by June 30 and could be forced to cash in on some of their key players in the near future to avoid the prospect of entering administration.

Branthwaite is one of the most valuable stars in their squad and could leave for a cut-price fee.

In our view, the 21-year-old would be a statement signing to start the Ratcliffe era. Branthwaite had a brilliant 2023/24 season with the Toffees where he stood out in their backline.

The youngster won 68 per cent of his duels with 4.5 clearances, 5.2 ball recoveries and 1.9 tackles per game. He kept 12 clean sheets and had a passing accuracy of 80 per cent.

His distribution needs to improve. This should happen at United with better players around him who can control possession. At £40m, he would be a bargain signing for the club.

United need to be wary of interest from their Premier League rivals such as Tottenham Hotspur. The club need to move quickly to ensure that they don’t miss out on his signature.

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