Celtic continue to track the progress of Carlisle United defender Jarrad Branthwaite, a month after Nick Hammond made a personal scouting trip to watch the teenager in action, The Scottish Sun report.
It was reported by the paper last week that Director of Football Operations Hammond travelled to see the stopper in action in November.
Clearly there was enough interest for him to continue to be monitored, with the outlet reporting on Monday that Celtic representatives were in attendance to see him play a midfield role for Carlisle against Morecambe on Saturday.
With Rangers, Man City, Leicester and Arsenal all said to be interested, it seems to be inevitable that the player will soon be taking a step up in his career.
His manager Chris Beech admitted that the youngster is struggling to deal with the speculation ahead of the January transfer window.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “The speculation is a challenge for him. I don’t think it’s my job to talk about how hard it will be to keep him – I think it’s the club’s.
“They’ve got to do what’s best for everybody and everything. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. It’s very difficult for him to deal with that as a player.”
Who is he?
Still just 17, Carlisle’s website lists Branthwaite’s height at 195cm, which is roughly 6ft 5in. That’s a colossal height for such a young age and demonstrates he already has some of the physical attributes required to be a defender at the senior level.
He burst into the team under former Hoops defender Steven Pressley, before he left Carlisle, and has gone on to make nine senior appearances for the club (Transfermarkt).
That doesn’t suggest he is ready to come right into the Celtic first-team, but signing up a young talent from England, attracting interest from big clubs, wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
It’s a market we’ve been pursuing in recent months, especially since Hammond arrived, with Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor and Luca Connell all moving from English teams.
Will Branthwaite be the latest talented youngster to join our ranks?