Man Utd could repeat Rooney masterclass by sealing “magnificent” late £40m transfer

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When Manchester United plays Wolves on Thursday, they have the opportunity to begin their Premier League season.

Erik ten Hag’s team beat Newport County 4-2, almost by accident, last Saturday, which exposed their weakness in the back.

In light of this, the Dutch manager needs to consider making a defensive investment to bolster the back line.

The newest centre back target for Man United

Man United is reportedly trying to complete a move for Jarrad Branthwaite, according to sources from Italy via TEAMtalk.

opinions of Jake O’Brien, Jarrad Branthwaite, and Everton
The Everton player is reportedly available for a whopping £40 million with bonuses—more than half of what the Toffees were willing to pay for him.

Despite United’s limited spending this month, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and company are now ‘pushing’ to complete a deal in the last few days of the window, so they might be able to get Branthwaite for a low cost.

Timo Werner from Real Madrid
An Wayne Rooney again

Wayne Rooney. With 253 goals in 539 appearances, this United legend cemented his record as the team’s all-time top striker.

The ex-scouser turned Manchester United player accomplished it all, from winning five Premier League titles and scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut to taking home the trophy years later.

Rooney arrived at the Red Devils in the summer of 2004 for a reported £30 million from Everton. By acquiring Branthwaite, United may duplicate that feat of brilliance. Branthwaite may also decide to follow in the footsteps of the legendary striker by moving from Merseyside to Manchester.

United Manchester Wayne-Rooney
Although ‘Wazza’ is no longer as young as he was when he arrived to Old Trafford, the 21-year-old has been a pillar of support for Everton this season, starting 18 Premier League games. Alan Shearer, who hailed the defender as “magnificent” for his performances in the Toffees’ back, echoes that assessment. For a young player, he performed like a seasoned professional and settled in well as the left center-back. That sounds a lot like Rooney.

Strengths and disadvantages of Branthwaite

Let’s see how Branthwaite might suit into the United squad, as the numbers more than indicate that he would be successful wearing the Red Devils insignia.

The Premier League defenders versus Branthwaite


Statistics (per 90)

Place in the Premier League



top 17%

Dribblers engaged in combat


Top 1%



Top 9%

Ball retrievals


Top 12%

The aerials prevailed.


upper 28%

Statistics through FBref

Branthwaite is a player that enjoys defending, as you can see in the table above that contrasts the defender’s ranking against positionally similar players in the Premier League.

He’s quite calm and doesn’t act on impulse, which makes him short, but he also doesn’t mind becoming physical and intimate. The Everton defender’s high dribblers tackled statistic demonstrates his ability to match quick attackers, while his interceptions and ball recoveries demonstrate his ability to read the game.

However, he hasn’t been able to showcase his skill with the ball for the Everton squad, who are frequently underdogs.

In fact, during his loan stint at PSV, the 21-year-old showed glimmers of this. According to FBref, his long pass completion percentage in the top 6% for defenders in the Eredivisie and his touches in the mid-third are in the top 20%, demonstrating that he is both an accurate passer and comfortable enough to enter higher zones with the ball.

He may develop into a top-tier defender at United, which would be the ideal setting for all of his abilities to be realised. Branthwaite might be the steal of 2024 at a cost of £40 million, maybe even surpassing Rooney in the process.

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