Ex-Everton defender among pair of centre-backs Manchester United are targeting this summer

The Red Devils could make a move should Maguire leave

Manchester United have shortlisted ex-Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite as a potential option to reinforce the centre of their defence should Harry Maguire leave this summer, it has been reported.

The Red Devils have already spent in excess of £175m this summer, with Mason Mount arriving from Chelsea, Andre Onana being signed from Inter Milan and an agreement to sign Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta in a deal worth in excess of £75m,

However, there is plenty of speculation that more signings could follow, with Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat among those on Erik ten Hag’s wishlist as he looks to build a squad capable of competing on all fronts.

Defence is another area of concern, with Harry Maguire looking increasingly surplus to requirements after being stripped of the captaincy by the Red Devils boss, though one £20m for the Englishman has already been knocked back.

Asked about Maguire, Ten Hag refused to shut the door on him staying, but wouldn;t give him any assurances about getting more than his eight Premier League starts from last season.

“I will not say that Harry isn’t part of this group. He has to fight for his position.”

“He is a very good centre-back, and I believe in the potential of Harry Maguire. “It’s just that he has to prove himself and fight his way into the team. It’s up to him, and I think he can do it.

“I have often chosen a player ahead of Harry, that’s true. But that says nothing about me not believing in him. He has to show he is better for the team than Rapha or Victor. I think that’s a normal situation in top football.

“When you are at Man United you have to fight for your position and bring your skills in and prove you are the best for the team, and contribute the most.”

Two alternatives being eyed up

Should Maguire depart this summer, Manchester United have already drawn up a two man shortlist for his replacement.

Branthwaite is one option, with the youngster having impressed for PSV Eindhoven last season on loan and now set to challenge for a first team berth at Goodison Park.

An alternative is Jean-Clair Todibo, who has been slowly rebuilding his reputation after a disastrous spell with Barcelona, and is now flourishing for Ligue 1 side Nice.

Neither would be expected to cost a significant amount, while both are young defenders that could come and provide cover to Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, undoubtedly Ten Hag’s first choice pairing.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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