Preston North End have had an exciting January transfer window so far, and have been the most active club in the whole of England when it comes to incomings.
Whilst other clubs in the second tier have struggled to balance their finances during the global pandemic, Peter Ridsdale has always revealed that PNE have paid their players and bills on time, and the Lilywhites have been rewarded for their efforts with some big transfer coups.
The signing of highly-rated Doncaster midfielder Ben Whiteman has certainly caught the attention of rival Championship fans, whilst Millwall fans were left gutted as last season’s loan star Jayson Molumby has rocked up at Deepdale from Brighton for the rest of the season.
Danish stopper Daniel Iversen has also joined on loan from Leicester City as a replacement for injury-stricken Declan Rudd, whilst Ched Evans’ move from Fleetwood Town to Deepdale for the rest of the season has raised a lot of eyebrows.
More is needed though for North End with defenders surely on the agenda, but they will first need to clear some room in their squad – and here are two players who may depart the Lancashire outfit this month.
It’s been made very public that Preston have four major players that are out of contract at the end of the current season – that is now three due to the re-signing of Alan Browne until 2024.
Ben Davies, Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson are all yet to re-sign, and it looks like none of their stances are changing judging by Alex Neil’s latest comments in terms of being ‘left short‘ if replacements weren’t sourced.
And Whiteman’s arrival could spell the end for Pearson, who has been at North End for five years after joining from Manchester United in January 2016.
The 26-year-old has developed into one of – if not the best holding midfielder in the Championship and has Celtic, Brentford and West Brom reportedly interested in his signature.
Whilst any of Davies, Johnson and Pearson can sign pre-contract agreements with non-English league clubs to move for no fee in the summer, the home interest in the North End number four means that he’s the most likely to move on for a fee this month.
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Harrop arrived at Deepdale in 2017 fresh off his debut for Manchester United in their final game of the 2016/17 season, where he made headlines with a lovely finish against Crystal Palace.
Despite hardly any exposure to first-team football at the time, the capture of Harrop at the time was a big one for PNE, but he’s never quite lived up to the hype.
He did suffer from a knee injury in September 2018 which set him back nine months, but Harrop hasn’t really taken his chances when given a chance by Neil, despite scoring five goals last season.
Starting just one game in the 2020/21 campaign so far, Harrop has fallen down the pecking order and he is reportedly in talks with Ipswich Town regarding a loan move to Portman Road.
Game-time is what Harrop needs to develop, and at 25 years of age he can still do that away from Deepdale – providing a club can stump up for his wages.