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£60m Everton defender has given Man United a potential summer target as they plot transfer swoop for the star



£60m Everton defender has given Man United a potential summer target as they plot transfer swoop for the star

Man Utd battled to a hard-fought and scrappy win against Everton at Old Trafford thanks to penalties from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford.

United were gifted the advantage in the first half via two penalties, both won by Alejandro Garnacho.

He drew fouls from James Tarkowski and Ben Godfrey, with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford scoring the goals to give the hosts control of the game.

After back-to-back Premier League defeats, it was a much-needed victory for Erik ten Hag’s side, who will now see at least one of their rivals drop points tomorrow – with Aston Villa hosting Tottenham.

United weren’t entirely convincing and Everton had their moments but the Toffees lacked a goalscorer, while Garnacho’s trickery proved vital.

It’s fair to say Alejandro Garnacho has enjoyed his outings against Everton this season. His overhead kick at Goodison Park in November remains United’s goal of the season and quite probably the Premier League’s goal of the season.

That was a fifth start in a row for the teenager, a mark he had never reached before, but it turned out to be the start of something more. He hasn’t been out of the side since and this was his 25th successive start.

Having started the season as an attacking option off the bench he is now at the heart of the United attack, whether he plays on the left or the right.

He was influential from both flanks in a pretty fluid attack. For the first penalty, he drifted to the left along with Marcus Rashford, collected an inside pass from his fellow forward and used his quick feet to turn inside James Tarkowski, who was already committed and hacked him down.

Later in the half he picked the ball up on the left flank and began a run infield, drifting past several defenders before nudging the ball away from Ben Godfrey as he went to ground. It was another clear penalty and another one won by the thrilling winger.

His mazy dribbles and quick feet led to four Fulham players being booked for fouls on him a couple of weeks ago and Everton were no better equipped to stop him.

If there’s an area Garnacho can improve on then it is being more clinical in front of goal. He had one good chance late in the first half when Scott McTominay played a wonderful through ball to release him, but he took too long to get his shot away.

Branthwaite is the real deal

It seems certain that United will be in the market for at least one central defender this summer and there is a desire to bring in a younger player, with Everton’s 21-year-old Branthwaite on the radar.

Branthwaite has had an excellent season for the Toffees and is one of many central defenders to have improved under Sean Dyche, with Ben Mee, Michael Keane and Tarkowski all developing as defenders under Dyche at Burnley.

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