It has been a pretty quiet summer for Preston North End in the transfer window.
Just two players, experienced striker David Nugent and defender Patrick Bauer, have joined the club, both on free transfers.
The biggest moment of the summer for the club has undoubtedly been the departure of winger Callum Robinson.
The 24-year-old was sensational for Preston last season, scoring 13 goals and providing 4 assists despite missing a large part of the season due to a hamstring injury, and was subsequently signed by Sheffield United ahead of their first season back in the top flight.
Preston have not yet signed a replacement for him, however, it now appears they may have found one in Celtic winger Scott Sinclair.
According to the Lancashire Evening Post, the club have enquired about the possibility of signing Sinclair on loan this season.
That offer is understood to have been rejected as the Hoops are only interested in a permanent deal for the 30-year-old.
The £2.5 million price tag and Sinclair’s wages are thought to be a stumbling block for Preston at this point, but what exactly would the winger give them on the pitch?
We put a spotlight on his performances for the Scottish giants last season to find out.
In bringing in Sinclair, Preston are looking for a replacement for Robinson – a quick left-winger who produced goals and assists for them across the season.
On the surface, the 30-year-old looks like he could be just that. Sinclair made 55 appearances across both domestic and European competitions for Celtic last season, of which 27 were from the bench. That considered, his production – 17 goals and five assists – is extremely impressive.
Preston and Celtic both frequently lined up in 4-2-3-1 formations last season, with Robinson and Sinclair both slotting in on the left of the attacking midfield three – so Sinclair would likely be very comfortable filling the void left by the 24-year-old’s exit.
The 30-year-old averaged 4.21 touches in the box per game, indicating he was a busy forward who was regularly drifting more central to get involved. Sinclair’s average touches in the box would’ve put him just outside the top ten players in the Championship in that category and above Robinson who averaged 3.79.
The England international’s pass accuracy of 86.8% last season was also very impressive and indicate that he is a useful asset to have in the passing game and in link-up play.
An area which may be of some concern for Preston boss Alex Neil is Sinclair’s delivery of the ball into the box. The winger averaged just 1.39 crosses per game last season, at a lowly success rate of 31.6%, which looks poor in comparison to Robinson’s 4.08 average crosses per game and success rate of 39% in the Championship.
Preston need to bring in someone who can replace the important contributions that Robinson provided last season and Sinclair’s statistics indicate that he could be an ideal candidate to do that, even if it is just a short-term fix given that he is already 30.
If Preston can find a way around the financial barriers currently blocking the deal, this could be an excellent bit of business ahead of the new season.