Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Jarrad Branthwaite could go out on loan with Championship clubs circling for his signature.
Both Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End have apparently registered interest in the 18-year-old, who Everton snapped up from League Two side Carlisle United in January.
The Lancashire duo are both in the market for a new defender following injuries, with Blackburn being struck down massively in recent weeks.
Daniel Ayala, Scott Wharton and Derrick Williams are all currently on the sidelines – the latter two being long-term absences – so a new centre back or two this month is absolutely vital for Tony Mowbray.
Preston meanwhile will be missing Patrick Bauer for the rest of the season, whilst the future of Ben Davies remains unclear as he reportedly rejected a new contract – his current one expires at the end of the current campaign.
Did Blackburn Rovers sign each of these 14 players for more or less than £1 million?
Branthwaite looks like he would be a perfect option for either club, and now Ancelotti has confirmed his potential availability which may put other teams on red alert.
“Branthwaite might be able to go on loan for six months,” Ancelotti told the press in his pre-match press conference for Everton’s clash with Rotherham.
“We are not at this moment, thinking about signing new players.”
After making his first team breakthrough at the end of last season for the Toffees, Branthwaite has struggled to make the same impact in 2020/21 due to the arrival of Ben Godfrey from Norwich.
And a loan to the second-tier for the rest of the season seemingly makes perfect sense for all parties involved.
These comments from the Italian will be music to the ears of fans of both Rovers and North End, who will be hoping that their respective managers will be going all out to bring the talented teen in.
Branthwaite was really impressive for Carlisle as a 17-year-old last season, which prompted Everton to make their move, and even the player himself probably didn’t think he’d make his first-team breakthrough so quickly.
Now Branthwaite has the chance to continue his development elsewhere in what could be a good learning curve, which means it’s now up to both Blackburn and North End to make their pitches to see where the player ends up.