Carlo Ancelotti must sanction a January loan move to Blackburn Rovers for Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite amidst interest from the Championship side.
According to LancsLive, Rovers chiefs are hopeful of completing a deal to take Branthwaite to Ewood Park until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Head coach Tony Mowbray has been given the backing of the club to make at least one loan signing this month, and he is seemingly intent on using any available funds to strengthen the core of his defence with a left-sided centre-back.
Branthwaite is one option under consideration with Scott Wharton, Derrick Williams and Daniel Ayala some of the other known alternatives, with Rovers forced into temporary transfers after a summer splurge in search of promotion back into the Premier League.
Everton are expected to consider sending Branthwaite out on loan following Seamus Coleman’s return from injury, which has eased concerns over a lack of depth that forced Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey to provide cover at full-back over the festive period.
Branthwaite missed parts of the start of the campaign with an ankle injury, after sustaining ligament damage just 24 minutes into his sole start of the season during September’s Carabao Cup win at Salford City.
The 18-year-old has since featured as an unused substitute in four Premier League squads following his return to fitness, after making four top-flight appearances last term.
With Coleman returning from injury allowing Holgate to contend with Yerry Mina and Michael Keane for minutes in central defence, Branthwaite will struggle to establish himself as a first-choice option at Goodison Park anytime soon.
Lucas Digne is also nearing a return from his ankle ligament surgery, which will free Godfrey up to act as an additional hurdle in Branthwaite’s path, making a loan spell with Blackburn an ideal option for both the player and Everton to consider.
Rovers are seemingly in need of a left-sided centre-half, so should be able to grant Branthwaite regular game time in their push for promotion, a push that currently sees Mowbray’s side sit five points outside of the play-off places and nine points behind second-placed Swansea City in the automatic promotion places.
Blackburn have not had the best of defensive units this term, either, with the Ewood Park natives conceding more goals than eight of the 10 sides currently sitting above them in the table after 23 games, having kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 matches.
Ancelotti is apparently a keen believer in Branthwaite’s potential, describing the 6 ft 4 teen talent as a “fantastic” prospect, and could be happy to see the 18-year-old display his potential week-in, week-out, with a temporary spell out on loan in a competitive environment.
“He showed quality and personality and character,” Ancelotti told EvertonTV about the player. “He is really calm with the ball, really comfortable, and really aggressive without the ball.
“He can be a fantastic player for us.”