Strange swap story involving Everton and Man United defenders

Media stories claim Manchester United will try and tempt the Blues into parting with one of their young stars with a summer swap deal.
Manchester United v Burnley FC - Premier League
Manchester United v Burnley FC - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

According to this report United will use their veteran England international centre-back Harry Maguire as bait to persuade Everton to sell Jarrad Branthwaite to them.

This is a slightly odd story and represents of course the start of the summer transfer window speculative silly season with all sorts of strange and unlikely rumours sure to surface.

The idea that the Toffees would consider a swap deal between the clubs in which Everton part with arguably the best young English centre-back in the Premier League for a player who has a history of erratic and inconsistent performances and who is 31, seems a little unlikely to me!

After all the Blues already have a defender on their books who is prone to making mistakes and individual errors which have proved very costly at times in Micheal Keane.

And there is plenty of experience at the back with veteran centre-half James Tarkowski performing well enough and like Keane a player who is also over 30.

Everton are in a position that if they were to part with Branthwaite they would want the maximum amount of money, especially as surely the only reason for such a transfer would be if the club were desperate to balance the books.

Bringing in another player over 30 with Maguire's history certainly does not seem like that relates to the situation I have described.

I think there are other young centre-backs out there who would probably much better fit the profile of the type of player to replace him, such as Burnley's Maxime Esteve.

He is the same age and roughly the same height as Branthwaite and is also predominantly left-footed - although Branthwaite is perhaps really two-footed - which is a very useful attribute to have.

And although he hasn't had quite such a meteoric rise as the England international, he has been on loan for the latter half of this season at Turf Moor and done pretty well in a defence that has struggled overall.

So, he has had experience in Premier League football at the sharp end and knows what it is like to be battling against the odds.

Esteve's contract at Burnley (who are almost certainly going down) finishes in June and so he might be available for transfer if his parent club Montpellier were open to it, either on loan again or permanently for a reasonable fee.

Anyway, he is one possibility to consider and there are plenty of other young central defenders to look at too of course.

The point is Everton will have a little of cash to spend (I hope!) if they do sell Branthwaite and bringing in another young, promising centre-back with the potential to develop further, is clearly much the better option given all the experience the team already has at the back.