Celtic will battle Rangers for transfer of English youngster

Glasgow rivals, Celtic and Rangers, are all set to battle it out for the transfer of a 17-year-old English youngster who has caught the eye this season.

We are less than a week away from when Celtic and Rangers take on each other in the Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden, in a match that will decide the first trophy of the season. Neil Lennon’s will be looking to win the Cup for the fourth successive season while Steven Gerrard’s side have the opportunity to win their first major trophy since 2011.

It is not only on the pitch that the two famed rivals are set to battle though as it is being reported by The Scottish Sun that both clubs will also be looking to sign 17-year-old English centre-back, Jarrad Branthwaite. Branthwaite currently plays at League Two side Carlisle United and has impressed in the appearances that he has made this season.

Celtic have been scouting Branthwaite and apparently he has even been watched by director of football operations, Nicky Hammond, in person. The fact that Hammond would go to England to watch a 17-year-old in action just shows that the club certainly rate the youngster highly.

Celtic already have the likes of Kris Ajer, Christopher Jullien, Jozo Simunovic, Jack Hendry, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Lee O’Connor and Nir Bitton capable of playing centre-back. So it is unlikely that Branthwaite would be a part of first-team plans anytime soon.

But buying Branthwaite will go with the club’s recent policy of buying youngsters and trying to groom them into first-team players at the academy. Just last summer they have bought players like Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor and Jonathan Afolabi, and it is already starting to pay off with Frimpong looking like a major star for the future. Rated at just 1 million, Branthwaite is a risk Celtic can afford to take.