Preston North End are set to have a busy upcoming summer following the publication of their retained list after the 2021-22 Championship season concluded.
The Lilywhites, who finished in 13th position in the league, let a whole host of senior players go, such as Scott Sinclair, Tom Barkhuizen and Joe Rafferty, and lost three key loan players back to their parent clubs with a slim-to-none chance of most of that trio returning.
It all means that Ryan Lowe will have to get creative in the transfer market, with a number of positions needing to be strengthened ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
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Let’s look at FOUR transfer matters that Lowe will have to deal with in the very near future at Deepdale.
Replacing Daniel Iversen
Iversen was PNE’s Player of the Season after saving the Lilywhites on multiple occasions, with the Dane having genuine claims to being the best goalkeeper in the Championship.
It appears though that the 24-year-old may have outgrown North End, with Lowe and club director Peter Ridsdale admitting there is not much chance of Iversen returning for a third loan stint.
That means that Lowe will need to find a replacement, which is especially important with zero senior goalkeepers on the books right now, and there’s a chance that the individual wanted may have already been scouted out, with Manchester City youngster Gavin Bazunu being linked with a move to Deepdale recently.
Jordan Storey’s future
Not many would have expected Storey to have gone out on loan in January considering he started the first 14 Championship matches of the season for North End’
But the decision to move Sepp van den Berg back to his natural position, coupled with a change of manager from Frankie McAvoy to Lowe, meant that Storey moved to Sheffield Wednesday in search of regular football for the remainder of the campaign.
Storey started in all-but two games for the Owls following his arrival and he made a big impression amongst their supporters, but it remains to be seen if Wednesday can afford to make a permanent offer for the 24-year-old.
If they can, then North End will definitely have something to think about this summer in regards to Storey’s future.
A new left wing-back
Aside from the goalkeeping spot, the position that probably needs the most attention within the PNE squad is at left wing-back.
Josh Earl has failed to impress this past season and has seemingly regressed, whilst Greg Cunningham’s fitness issues will always be a worry and he is now the wrong side of 30 years old.
Lowe has talked about wanting speed and attacking nous from his wing-backs, so you can expect a pacy attack-minded left wing-back to arrive through the door in the next month or so at Deepdale.
Sourcing a Cameron Archer alternative
Cameron Archer and his seven Championship goals after joining North End on loan in January were one of the more exciting parts of the club’s season, with supporters praying for the 20-year-old’s return next season.
That will come down to Steve Gerrard’s assessment, with the former Liverpool man and friend of Lowe set to use pre-season to see if Archer will be part of his plans next season.
Archer wants a return to Deepdale if he is allowed back out on loan again, but if that doesn’t transpire then a new partner for Emil Riis needs to be found.
That could be another top flight loanee or it could be someone with more experience – Andre Gray is a name that has been banded around already and he could be the man that Lowe turns to in the end.