New Everton signing Jarrad Branthwaite certainly looks to have an exciting future ahead of him, but Celtic shouldn’t be concerned about missing out on him.
It was disappointing to see the Toffees confirm their new man yesterday. It was especially frustrating considering it was only days ago that Carlisle United chairman Andrew Jenkins stated there had been no offers for his star man too (Glasgow Times).
Celtic had originally been interested in the centre-back, with Nick Hammond reportedly believed to have gone down to visit him personally back in November (Scottish Sun).
The interest made sense too. As things stand, Celtic still don’t have adequate cover for Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer. Only Jozo Simunovic is available out of players you could tag as reliable, and he’s had his injury problems throughout his Celtic career.
But even though a centre-back should be a priority this season, failing to sign Branthwaite is hardly a bitter blow.
Branthwaite wouldn’t have walked into Celtic team
What has to be stressed about the former Carlisle man is his lack of experience. He’s only played 11 senior games in his professional career so far. All of those have come in either League Two or the early rounds of the EFL Trophy/FA Cup (Transfermarkt).
He screams like a signing who would’ve had to ply his trade with the development side at Lennoxtown. Branthwaite never had the profile to waltz into our squad – what he has is potential.
That’s why it’s no disaster we didn’t get him. He was likely viewed as one for the future. As of right now, any centre-back we do sign has to be one who can make an immediate impact.
If Jullien or Ajer pick up a serious injury with Simunovic injured, we’ll be down to the bare bones. Granted, Nir Bitton has proven himself at the centre of defence, but it still isn’t ideal to have him in there.
Celtic have been linked with the likes of Fabricio Bruno in recent weeks too (Scottish Sun). With nearly 60 appearances to his name in Brazil’s Serie A, he has that higher level of profile we should be after.
So we won’t pretend that it isn’t disappointing to lose out on Branthwaite. He clearly has the physical traits and the potential to go far at Everton. However, it’s hardly a disaster, and more suitable centre-back targets will surely be on Celtic’s radar.