Man United on back foot as two rivals work out crafty transfer deal to leave them in lurch

Jarrad Branthwaite of Everton
-Credit: (Image: James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)

Everton have successfully strengthened their position in the transfer market as Manchester United attempt to negotiate the transfer of 21-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite.

The Toffees have so far rebuffed United's £35m attempt to sign their highly-regarded central defender. Old Trafford chiefs insist they will not be held to ransom over a player his current club value at £70m.

One major facet of this prospective deal was the fact Everton have been under reported pressure to raise funds from player sales or risk falling foul of Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR), but now it has been confirmed Sean Dyche's side have been able to do this by other means with United left stranded.

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In their bid to wrap up business before the accounting year's deadline on June 30, forward Lewis Dobbin has completed a transfer from Goodison Park to Aston Villa. Prior to confirmation this was expected to bring the Merseyside club close to falling within PSR limits, or at least close enough to present mitigation to the Premier League.

Should striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin complete a switch to Newcastle United this month it would almost certainly see Everton stay on the correct side of the loss cap, and whatever the outcome is now, after Dobbin's move the pressure to sell is now alleviated and United have seemingly lost that bargaining chip in their Branthwaite talks.

As part of a wider debate, transfers such as this latest one between Merseyside and the West Midlands have kicked up the discussion regarding their morality.

As PSR has dominated the top-flight's transfer talk in recent months, it is United's three aforementioned rivals that have been under the most financial scrutiny and threat of sanctions for failure to comply. To help one another they have turned to the movement of academy products between clubs, as homegrown talent allows a club to accumulate 'pure profit' for their financial statements.

Dobbin, with Everton since the age of 11, has made the move to Villa Park whilst only yesterday it was announced Tim Iroegbunam - a product of Villa's and West Bromwich Albion's youth set-ups - had gone in the opposite direction for £9m.

As Newcastle interest in Calvert-Lewin is known, it is also being reported now that Everton could look to seal a deal for the Magpies' Yankuba Minteh, rated at £40m despite never playing for Eddie Howe's team in the year since his £6m arrival.

Chelsea are the fourth club involved in the current PSR drama, and like the others are reportedly engaged with Villa to complete simultaneous, unconnected transfers. Left back Ian Maatsen is said to be close to a £37m move to Unai Emery's team, whilst Villa will sell 18-year-old Omari Kellyman - who they signed from Derby County for £600k two years ago - to the Stamford Bridge club for a £19m fee.

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