Celtic are closely monitoring Carlisle United defender Jarrad Branthwaite ahead of the January window, Football Insider can reveal.

The centre-back, 17, has caught the eye of scouts north and south of the border after breaking into the League Two club’s starting XI this season.

A Celtic source has told Football Insider that the club are keeping tabs on Branthwaite and compiling a dossier on him as they plot a potential January swoop.

The Scottish giants have been alerted to the teenager by his precocious performances for the Cumbrian side this campaign.

He has made nine appearances across all competitions for Carlisle and started their last five league matches.

Branthwaite, who does not turn 18 until next June, already cuts an imposing figure despite his age and stands at 6ft 4in.

He has progressed through the ranks at Carlisle, joining the club at the age of eight before eventually establishing himself at senior level.

The fourth-tier club are braced for interest in Branthwaite in January with scouts from Premier League and Championship clubs joining Celtic in recent trips.

He signed a two-year contract with an option at the end of February 2019, which ties him to Carlisle until the summer of 2021.

As revealed by Football Insider, Aston Villa are among the Premier League big hitters with an eye on the youngster.

Celtic concentrated during the summer window on prising top young talents from English clubs, with teenagers Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor, Luca Connell and Jonathan Afolabi all signing for them.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights in January on £65,000-a-week star who WANTS to join them.