Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite is set to join Blackburn Rovers on a six-month loan deal as they push for promotion to the Premier League.
The 18-year-old centre-back, who is adept with both feet, is set to link up with Tony Mowbray’s side imminently, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The youngster joined the Toffees from Carlisle last January for just £750,000 and has seen flashes of game-time under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti. However, the youngster will almost certainly have more opportunities to exhibit his talents in the Championship.
It is understood that Rovers have fended off interest from a number of suitors, including Championship rivals, to secure Branthwaite’s signature, with all parties deeming Blackburn to the best destination for his development.
There is no option to buy the player, with the loan deal seemingly being with a view to exposing Branthwaite to more regular senior football.
The teenager was not included in the Toffees’ matchday squad for last night’s 2-1 victory over Wolves at Molineux as his move to Ewood Park was being finalised.
Ancelotti appears to view Branthwaite as a future part of his first team plans, claiming last week that the teenager could “maybe go on loan for six months” in order to further his development.
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The Championship should serve as a major litmus test of Branthwaite’s ability, but the old maxim of ‘Iron sharpens iron’ could ring true.
Branthwaite will almost certainly see improved prospects of game-time at Blackburn with a challenging side who could get the best out of him, and a loan deal seems to make perfect sense for all parties.