Report: Newcastle have "first refusal" for Celtic target Jarrad Branthwaite
Celtic’s reported interest in Jarrad Branthwaite has taken a fresh twist.
Local outlet the Shields Gazette has reported that Newcastle United actually have first refusal on the Carlisle United defender. This is apparently thanks to the loan deal that saw Newcastle’s Elias Sorensen move to the League Two club in the summer.
The Scottish Sun had reported that Celtic and Rangers had entered the race for centre-back Branthwaite as recently as yesterday. Nicky Hammond had apparently made a trip down to see him play in a match last month.
However, going by the latest report, it looks as though it’ll be down to Newcastle to determine whether we’ll even be allowed to go in for him.
Branthwaite, of course, is only 17. He shot onto the League Two scene this season over the last two months and now has eight senior appearances to his name (Transfermarkt).
A deal that has no risk whatsoever to it
You can see why this kind of deal would be attractive to Celtic. With the sheer size and potential of the player, it has no real risk to it if we could get him for a nominal fee.
The player’s contract runs until the summer of 2021, but there’s apparently an option for a further year (Transfermarkt). Therefore, as things stand, Carlisle would be under no real obligation to sell. But they are a League Two club, and will ultimately have a valuation that should easily be met by the Hoops if we want to swoop in.
Former Carlisle manager and Celtic defender Steven Pressley praised Branthwaite towards the end of October. He claimed that he put in an “outstanding performance” in his league debut against Plymouth (News and Star). Since then, he’s played five more matches and has one clean sheet to his name.
It reads like a signing that would go straight into the development team in any case. If we managed to secure Branthwaite, chances are we wouldn’t see him in the first-team anytime soon.
However, this fresh report from Shields Gazette puts a different light on the subject. If the youngster does have the potential that those interested in him feel he does, it could be worth the Premier League side also taking a punt on him.
In any case, we’ll see how this plays out. Hopefully, if Celtic want him, it’s a deal we’ll have a chance to get over the line.