Former Celtic defender Steven Pressley has urged the club to spend what it takes to land reported target Jarrad Branthwaite, feeling he is destined for great things in the game, The Herald report.
It was reported by The Scottish Sun in December that both Celtic and Rangers were tracking the progress of the Carlisle United man, with Head of Football Operations Nick Hammond said to have personally scouted the player.
The Daily Mail have subsequently reported he could cost around £800,000 to buy with a number of Premier League clubs interested in his services, including Liverpool and Manchester City.
Having played in the Scottish top-flight for much of his career, including a stint as a Hoops centre-back under Gordon Strachan, Pressley knows a thing or two about what it takes to make it in the Premiership.
He also knows plenty about Branthwaite, having been his manager for a spell last year when he was Carlisle boss between January and November.
The former Scotland international has now given Branthwaite the strongest possible recommendation, feeling that Celtic should definitely make a move for him.
As quoted by The Herald, he said: “Some people might baulk at the transfer fee it would take to get him, and yes, you might not ideally want to pay that kind of money for a 17-year-old. But trust me, it’s the best investment they could make.
“Jarrad is exactly the type of player they should be looking at. Whatever they pay for him just now, they will make 20 times that down the line. He’s that good.
“He’s got everything you need to be a top defender. He’s six foot four, he’s quick, and he can absolutely play. You wouldn’t know what foot is his preferred one really, because he’s so comfortable on the ball.
“For me, he is a future England internationalist. No question about it. That’s how highly I rate him. He’ll go to the very top of the game.”
How would he fit in at Celtic?
Right now it’s Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer who are holding down a regular spot in Neil Lennon’s team and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, though it does seem we’re in the market for another quality defender if our chase for Fabricio Bruno is anything to go by.
Branthwaite is still just 17 years old but as Pressley points out apparently already has the physical attributes to succeed in Scotland and massive potential.
Even if we go out and spend millions on a potentially first-choice centre-back this January, paying the reported £800,000 it would take to sign the youngster makes sense.
We’ve shown recently a preference for signing young talents from the English game with the acquisitions of Lee O’Connor and Jeremie Frimpong.
Branthwaite is unlikely to come into the club and play regularly from the off, but he could just be the kind of defender we’re looking for to slowly integrate himself into the first-team squad.
By the sound of what Pressley has to say, we won’t want to miss out.