Everton’s Josh King transfer interest and the double blow it could deal Blackburn Rovers

Bournemouth have emerged as potential rivals to Blackburn Rovers in the race for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite.

The Cherries, third in the Championship, are reportedly keen on the defender who could move to the south coast as part of an offer for Josh King from the Toffees.

Former Rovers player King is out of contract at the end of the season and could depart on a free in the summer.

Everton have identified the 28-year-old as a possible option to provide added competition up front but baulked at Bournemouth’s asking price.

Bournemouth agreed a compensation fee for King when they signed him from Rovers, avoiding the need for a tribunal.

While the details of the deal were kept private, it’s understood that Rovers have a 20 per cent sell-on clause should he depart for a fee.

But Carlo Ancelotti’s side are hoping to avoid paying a hefty price for the former Manchester United youngster and are prepared to offer young defender Branthwaite or his team-mate Jonjoe Kenny as part of the deal.

Rovers are keen on a loan move for Branthwaite, who fits the criteria of a left-sided option that can partner Darragh Lenihan.

After emerging on the Carlisle scene at 16, Everton secured his services last January for a £750,000 and the defender has made incredible progress during his time at Goodison Park, breaking into the first-team fold under Ancelotti.

The Everton chief has suggested the club may be open to allowing the 18-year-old defender to depart on loan.

“Branthwaite might be able to go on loan for six months,” the Everton boss told the Liverpool Echo. “We are not at this moment, thinking about signing new players.”

Newcastle, West Ham and West Brom have all shown an interest in King.

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