According to claims from Football Insider, as relayed by Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa have been credited with an interest in defender Jarrad Branthwaite, who currently plies his trade with Carlisle United in the League Two.
As well as Aston Villa, several other clubs have also been tracking the 17-year-old centre-back, who has made eyeballs turn with his impressive displays for the Cumbrians in the fourth-tier (Football Insider h/t Birmingham Mail).
Carlisle United currently find themselves languishing 20th in the League Two standings, following a terrible start to the campaign.
Born in Carlisle, Branthwaite has been with Carlisle United since the age of nine and put pen to paper on fresh terms until 2021 back in February last season.
Having made the bench for several League Two fixtures in the previous campaign, the 17-year-old was finally handed his professional debut by manager Steven Pressley in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle in October. Branthwaite recently bagged his first professional goal for the Cumbrians in an EFL Trophy tie against Morecambe.
The central defender has started each of Carlisle’s last five games in the League Two and was even honoured with the captain’s armband in one of the fixtures.
Branthwaite has only just burst on to the scene at the senior level but he looks like a prodigious talent with serious potential. Thus, Aston Villa completing a deal for him in the upcoming transfer window could pay off handsomely in the years to come.
At 17, there is still a long way to go before he evolves into a finished article capable of making a difference in the Premier League.
With Tyrone Mings, Bjorn Engels, Kortney Hause, James Chester and Ezri Konsa all competing for two roles at the heart of the defence every week, Villa already have an abundance of players at the back.
To that end, Branthwaite would find it tough to find an immediate route to the senior ranks.
Ideally, a loan spell should be the next step in the 17-year-old’s development curve but Villa might also keep him in their U23 ranks and allow him to hone his skills.
All in all, Aston Villa’s interest in Jarrad Branthwaite certainly strikes the right chords and this looks like a move that could go on to pay rich dividends moving forward.
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