January 2021 is starting to look like something of a crossroads in the career of Preston North End defender Ben Davies.
The 25-year-old has been a key man at the heart of the Lilywhites’ defence for three and a half years now and has attracted outside interest in that time but nothing like the tug of war he finds himself in the middle of now.
With his contract set to expire in the summer, there are a string of clubs keen to prize him away from Deepdale but it seems his current employers are determined to hold on.
Celtic are one such side and with that in mind, we’ve taken a deep dive into exactly what is going on and whether he’ll be on his way north of the border anytime soon.
What do we know so far?
The Hoops have been keen on Davies for some time, with reports in October indicating they were plotting a move ahead of the winter transfer window.
With January now here, Celtic have a chance to strike but it seems they face some significant competition for the 25-year-old’s signature.
Sky Sports has reported that Premier League strugglers Sheffield United, Championship high-flyers Bournemouth, Belgian side Genk and Serie A outfit Udinese are all interested in the Preston man.
Alongside Genk and Udinese, Celtic have the advantage of being able to agree a pre-contract with Davies – meaning he would join them for free at the end of the season.
Preston are doing all they can to hold onto their academy product, however, and have reportedly offered him a club-record contract in the region of £17,000-per-week in an attempt to keep him.
It is understood that should attempts to tie him down fail, the Deepdale outfit will be open to bids of around £5 million.
The ultimate 2021 Preston North End quiz – Can you get 24/24 correct?
Is it likely to happen this month?
You feel a decision on Davies’ future will certainly have been made by the end of the Janaury window.
Preston’s stance seems clear, either the 25-year-old agrees terms on a new deal or they look to cash in this month to avoid losing him for free in the summer.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see him signing a pre-contract agreement given the number of clubs hoping to snap him up and Celtic may well be forced to spend now to get a deal done.
Signing a player of Davies’ quality for around £5 million – a fee that will surely drop as the end of the month approaches – would be a coup for the Glasgow club, who are thought to be in the market for a new central defender in January.
Celtic’s long-term admiration of the player would surely make that an appealing deal for them, while it’s hard to argue against the Scottish giants being the most desirable destination of the club’s linked.