Man Utd 'plotting bid' for Jarrad Branthwaite alternative as Ratcliffe eyes massive saving

Jarrad Branthwaite is hot property after putting together a superb season at Everton (Image: Getty)

Manchester United are reportedly weighing up an offer for Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah. The Red Devils have also been linked with Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite, but his lofty price tag could force Sir Jim Ratcliffe and co to take their search for a new centre-back in a different, more affordable direction.

Persistent injury problems kept Chalobah out of the Chelsea first-team picture for eight months until he returned to the starting line-up in February. Thereafter, the 24-year-old became one of the club’s strongest performers as Mauricio Pochettino closed out the season with five straight wins, before a mutual decision was reached for the manager to leave Stamford Bridge.

Now, Chalobah could be set to follow his former boss as the Blues are expected to auction off at least one of their academy graduates before June 30 in an effort to meet Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

According to The Independent, United are showing interest in Chalobah as a possible replacement for Raphael Varane. The Frenchman is leaving Old Trafford this summer and Jonny Evans could also depart as his contract approaches expiry.

Chelsea reportedly want £25million for Chalobah, which would make him considerably cheaper than Branthwaite. Everton are also scrambling to sell before the PSR deadline, and though they are understood to value their star centre-back at £80m, there are murmurs that they could go as low as £40m.

Even snapping Branthwaite up at the Toffees’ bottom-end price would make him almost twice as expensive as Chalobah, with United considering whether to submit a formal bid for the Chelsea man.

Trevoh Chalobah excelled for Chelsea over the second half of the season (Image: Getty)

Chalobah went on loan to Ipswich Town, Huddersfield Town and Lorient before finally getting his shot in the Chelsea first team. With 80 Blues appearances under his belt, he could be a major asset to incoming manager Enzo Maresca if United don’t cough up the cash.

Every saving could be crucial for United co-owner Sir Jim this summer as United reportedly have a budget of just £35m – plus however much they make through player sales – to revamp their squad.

Antony, Jadon Sancho, Casemiro and Mason Mount have all been signed for huge fees in recent years, and none of the quartet have given the club a positive return on their investment up to this point.

Sir Jim has already set about galvanising United’s recruitment department, with Jason Wilcox appointed technical director and Newcastle chief Dan Ashworth still firmly in the crosshairs as the Red Devils hunt down a new sporting director.