Everton were quiet over the January transfer window. However, they did manage to snap up one young talent. Jarrad Branthwaite arrived from Carlisle United in the winter, with the Daily Mail suggesting he cost the club a figure in the region of £1 million.
It is undoubtedly a deal for the future. The Cumbrian is just 17-years-old and will first look to prove himself in David Unsworth’s under-23 side.
That said, he has also caught the eye of first-team boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Branthwaite was called up to play in a recent behind-closed-doors friendly, arranged for Andre Gomes to make his return from an ankle injury. It seems he impressed as, confirmed by Unsworth to the Liverpool Echo, the teenager is now training with the first-team.
Everton, of course, have had their own problems at centre-back this season. They failed to replace Phil Jagielka or Kurt Zouma in the summer. It left Michael Keane, Yerry Mina, and Mason Holgate as their only first-team options.
Fortunately, in recent weeks, Mina and Holgate, in particular, have found great form under the Italian.
But it is still assumed that Everton might go into the transfer market and spend big on a centre-back this summer.
Although, with the club surely having to keep an eye on their spending due to FFP regulations, bringing through one of the youngsters to compliment the current first-team trio might be Everton’s best move.
Branthwaite now appears to be in the best position to secure such a position, ahead of the likes of Lewis Gibson, Ryan Astley or Morgan Feeney.
It could be that this £1 million recruit ends up saving Everton millions in the summer transfer market.