Man Utd 'pushing hard' to land £40m transfer deal before deadline day

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Manchester United could be set for a busy final few days of the transfer window as Erik ten Hag looks to bolster his options.

Manchester United could be set for a late January signing with reports suggesting they are locked in talks for Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite.

United are prioritising defensive reinforcements but were widely expected to hold off on any major spending until the summer. Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be settled into his role overseeing the club's footballing operations by then, once his investment is fully ratified by the Premier League.

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Branthwaite has been identified as a potential target in multiple reports and Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport suggests the Reds are moving to get a deal over the line before Thursday's deadline. The two clubs are said to be locked in talks with manager Erik ten Hag 'actively pushing' for his arrival.

Branthwaite is enjoying an excellent individual campaign at Everton, in the midst of difficult circumstances including a 10-point deduction and ongoing financial concerns. Those issues at Goodison Park mean an exit for the 21-year-old is likely, although it was most likely going to be in the summer.

Previous reports have suggested Everton would demand around £100milion for the defender but this most recent link has suggested a deal could be done this week for around £40m, including bonuses. That will likely rise as deadline day closes in, given the lack of time for Sean Dyche's side to source a replacement.

Dyche has previously insisted that Everton do not need to sell anyone this month in order to avoid another profit and sustainability breach, having been charged for a second time this season.

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"That's certainly not what I'm aware of at this moment in time," he said of those suggestions last week. "Certainly nothing has been promoted to me with that thought." United do have five central defenders already within the squad, but that will almost certainly decrease come June 30. Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans will see their contracts expire at that point, with both expected to leave as free agents.

Harry Maguire has enjoyed an upturn in form when available this season but was up for sale throughout last summer, United having accepted a £30m bid from West Ham for him. It is unclear whether he will fit into Ten Hag's long-term plans and would bring money into the club, unlike the other two.

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