Celtic could land long-term target for bargain transfer fee

The manager is faced with a bizarre scenario he hasn’t come across before about one of his players, who is a Celtic transfer target.

We know Neil Lennon and Celtic are still interested in a centre half. Duffy is here on a season-long loan, Kris Ajer is attracting interest and Hatem Abd Elhamed likely won’t be there for cover much longer as he looks set for a return to Israel. The Hoops have been looking at alternatives as a result and one man that they have been linked with is Preston North End’s Ben Davies.

The 25-year-old defender sparked interest over the summer transfer window, but it looks as though the Hoops might still make a move for him in January. Why January? Well the player’s contract ends in June which means he can talk to other clubs next month about a future move. He could be signed on a pre contract arrangement or move sooner.

As a result of his contract running out both the player and the buying club could end up being better off than if a deal had been struck last summer. On the other hand, Preston North End are on the verge of losing one of their best players for free unless they can strike a deal for him next month. Which is why their manager Alex Neil is concerned at what’s happening. Or more pointedly perhaps, at what isn’t!

The Daily Record reported on Neil’s frustration and views on the contract situation. It’s not just Davies, Neil has some other players on the books at Preston in a similar situation. The manager reckons it should all have been sewn up by now with deals securing Davies and others to the club. And he points to chairman Peter Ridsdale at the club as the man who needs to take action:

“In regards to contracts and transfers at this club, the best person to speak to is Peter.

“He is the guy who deals with it, not me.

“It’s an absolutely bizarre scenario, I’ve never seen anything like it but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Lennon could certainly benefit from more cover at centre half and Davies looks the part. He’d likely be a good addition to the squad, maybe the usual Celtic canniness will lead to a good deal in January.