If Celtic want to sign defender Jarrad Branthwaite this January, they’ll have to pay £800,000 to Carlisle United upfront, according to The Daily Mail.
Hoops Head of Football Operations Nick Hammond was reported to have made personal trips to watch the 6ft 4in defender in action in recent months (The Scottish Sun), with other top clubs around Europe also in the hunt.
The Mail believes that Premier League side Everton had a £500,000 plus add ons bid rejected last week, with the English League Two side keen to get more cash for the teenager.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and RB Leipzig are all said to be interested in signing up the prospect.
Do Celtic need a defender?
Although Christopher Jullien has performed superbly alongside Kristoffer Ajer this season, it could be argued that we lack depth in the position.
Nir Bitton is available sure, but he’s a recognised midfielder, and Jozo Simunovic continues to be absent because of injury.
The second half of the season is set to be a massive fight and we simply need strength in every position, regardless of how impressive the first-choice picks are.
Does Branthwaite have the right profile?
Despite a lack of experience at just 17, Branthwaite already has the physical attributes required to stand up to the rigours of modern senior football in Scotland.
We’ve already seen Neil Lennon put faith in youth in defence this season with the constant inclusion of Jeremie Frimpong. So far that’s paid off.
With some big clubs reported to be in the hunt for Branthwaite, it would appear he is the kind of young player we should be looking at over the next few transfer windows, before his value increases and he only becomes available to cash-rich sides.
If we’re going to buy in a back-up centre-back, why not make it a young player who has lots of potential?