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Manchester United target Everton starlet as Erik ten Hag aims to strengthen Reds spine

Manchester United are continuing to show an interest in Everton starlet Jarrad Branthwaite with a new central defender high on the wanted list this summer.

United have big plans for the summer with Erik ten Hag set to be appointed their new boss. There will be plenty of comings and goings and much will depend on where United finish in the league. Champions League football would mean a bigger budget and on Saturday their chances were given a boost.

Tottenham suffered a shock home defeat to Brighton while Arsenal also lost. United saw off Norwich 3-2 to jump to fifth spot. The gap is down to three points and the race for the top four is back on.

Reds to strengthen the spine

Finishing in the top four would give Ten Hag more scope to get the top signings he wants. The Dutchman is keen to strengthen the spine of his squad during the summer. A new central defender, midfielder and striker are on his wanted list.

United will be targeting some big names in the summer window. However the Daily Mail are reporting that Branthwaite is seen as a star of the future and remains a target.

The Reds would not have to break the bank to land the youngster and Ten Hag could develop him. The 19-year-old has caught the eye when getting his chance in a struggling Everton side this season.

He has made five appearances, chipping in with one goal. Standing at 6ft 5in the left-sided defender has all the attributes to be a success in the Premier League.

Branthwaite is also good on the ball and it is no surprise that United are keen. Everton recently tied him down to a new deal that keeps him at Goodison Park until 2025.

However the Toffees also face a big summer regardless of whether they stay in the Premier League or not. They are reported to have a mountain of debt that needs shifting. So any sizeable bid for Branthwaite could be hard to turn down.

Manchester United linked with duo

United are also weighing up moves for more experienced central defenders. Antonio Rudiger is one. He will be available on a free transfer from Chelsea at the end of the season.

It is also no surprise to see United linked with Ajax players ahead of Ten Hag’s arrival. 20-year-old central defender Jurrien Timber is reported to be an option.

The Mail also report that two lists of transfer targets have been drawn up. Now everything could hinge on United leapfrogging over Spurs and in to the Champions League spots.

READ MORE: Wantaway Man Utd star to set transfer record as Newcastle gain advantage for summer swoop

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