Manchester United's Leny Yoro bid is an insult to Jarrad Branthwaite and Everton

Manchester United have had a bid accepted for Lille centre-back Leny Yoro but just what kind of message does that send to both Jarrad Branthwaite and Everton, who have now officially rejected their latest offer for him?

Samuel Luckhurst, the chief Manchester United writer at the ECHO’s sister publication the Manchester Evening News, reports that is understood the offer for Yoro is between €60million and €70m. Given that the article adds that United, who have also verbally agreed terms with Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt, face competition from Real Madrid, it’s clear that the Frenchman is a highly rated prospect but consider the following...

Yoro is just 18 years old. He has no experience in English football.

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Yet United have already offered his club a larger fee than the two derisory bids that they’ve insulted Everton with for the 22-year-old Branthwaite this summer. This is the same Branthwaite who, after excelling in a foreign country at a tender age during his loan spell in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, returned home and set the Premier League alight.

Evertonians, Goodison Park chiefs and everyone who has watched ‘The Carlisle Kaiser’ over recent months – including United in the heart of hearts – know Branthwaite’s true worth, so why is Jim Ratcliffe’s new regime playing such silly games? If anything, £45million plus add ons now we’re in July, is arguably a more disparaging offer than the original £35million plus add ons they submitted back in June before the end of football’s previous financial year. when there were still question marks over a potential need for sales in order to be compliant with PSR.

As well as being assured on the ball, man mountain Branthwaite is not only an incredible physical specimen who looks like he could overhead press the willowy Yoro, he’s had the Premier League’s biggest and baddest strikers regularly bouncing off him. Given the £80million fee that Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire in 2019, the £75million Chelsea paid for Wesley Fofana in 2022 and the £77million Manchester City paid for Josko Gvardiol in 2023, Everton consider Branthwaite to be in the same bracket, especially given the premium for both left-footed defenders and homegrown talent, and rightly so.

Blues recognise that Branthwaite is a generational talent and if he continues on his current steep trajectory then he can follow compatriots Declan Rice and Jack Grealish – the latter also didn’t make it to the Euros this summer – in becoming another English player to command a transfer fee of over £100million. It’s not like this is the all-conquering Manchester United of the Alex Ferguson era who are coming calling, but a pale shadow of their former selves on and off the pitch who finished eighth in the Premier League last season with their FA Cup victory only just saving manager Erik ten Hag from the sack and even that came after a two-week review in which they are understood to have tried – and failed – to hire a replacement for him.

If it wasn’t for their points deductions, Everton would have finished level on points with 11th placed Brighton & Hove Albion last season and along with centre-back partner James Tarkowski and England number one Jordan Pickford, Branthwaite was part of a defence that kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League behind runners-up Arsenal. Rather than risk his development by stepping into the potentially toxic environment of United, Branthwaite’s progression would be better served staying put for another year at least and then after that there’s the lure of the Blues’ magnificent new stadium on the Mersey waterfront over the faded glories of Old Trafford and its leaky roof.

United have just shown that if they really want a player then they’re prepared to pay the going rate for him. The fact that they haven’t done that with Branthwaite is a slap in the face to both him and Everton.