Celtic are reportedly monitoring 17-year-old Carlisle defender Jarrad Branthwaite ahead of a potential January swoop – which could further accelerate one prospective departure from the club.
Football Insider reported that the Hoops are keeping tabs on the 6 foot 4 centre-back, who has caught the eye with his performances in English League Two recently, with the Scottish champions said to be compiling a dossier on him with an eye to a possible transfer bid over the winter.
The news comes just a few days after Football Insider had claimed that a number of Football League clubs in England had been showing an interest in Celtic defender Jack Hendry, who has been starved of game-time this season.
Branthwaite has forged his way into Carlisle’s first team over the last few weeks, being handed a first team debut in the EFL Trophy against Blackpool in mid-October and starting their subsequent five league matches.
Unsurprisingly given his considerable height, he has shown tremendous aerial ability, winning five headers in recent League Two outings against Macclesfield and Northampton. [via WhoScored]
Carlisle manager Steven Pressley described the teenager’s performance on his league debut against Plymouth last month as “outstanding”, as per the News & Star, while Football Insider‘s claim that multiple clubs from the English Premier League and Championship are also tracking him hints at the scale of his potential.
While Branthwaite’s career looks like taking off, Hendry’s has ground to a halt at Celtic over the last few months.
Since Neil Lennon replaced Brendan Rodgers as Hoops manager nine months ago, the 24-year-old defender has made one solitary appearance for the first team, an 11-minute cameo off the bench in a 5-0 Betfred Cup mauling of Partick Thistle in September.
Branthwaite is still very raw and, if he were to sign for Celtic in January, he could join other youngsters such as Lee O’Connor, Luca Connell and Jonathan Afolabi in needing to be patient for first team opportunities.
If that does happen, it may well be another blow to Hendry’s prospects at the club, with the potential arrival of another centre-back quite possibly serving to drive the 24-year-old further down the pecking order and maybe towards the exit door.
Celtic fans, do you think Branthwaite would be a good centre-back option to pursue and, if he comes, would that push Hendry further towards an exit from the club? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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