Preston North End have already had an active start to the January transfer window with the signing of Brighton midfielder Jayson Molumby, but they could be set to see some key departures.
North End are running out of time to tie down the ‘big four’ to new contracts, all of whom could leave Deepdale for absolutely nothing in the summer.
Ben Pearson, Ben Davies, Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson are the players in question – all of whom have been key figures for Preston since as far back as 2014.
Davies seems to have the most interest on him, with foreign outfits Udinese and Genk the latest teams to be linked to the 25-year-old as they challenge the likes of Celtic and Sheffield United for his signature.
Speaking of the green half of Glasgow, Neil Lennon’s side have reportedly made ‘initial contact’ for another PNE player in the form of Pearson, according to Anthony Joseph of Sky Sports.
Let’s assess whether that potential move could go down this month.
What do we know so far?
Pearson’s contract expires in June, which means he was free to talk to any club outside of England starting on January 1.
This is where Scotland’s big two clubs have an advantage when it comes to potentially cherry-picking some top EFL talent, and it seems that’s no exception with Pearson.
If Celtic really do want Pearson though, they may have to move quick, as West Bromwich Albion and Brentford have reportedly joined the race for the Manchester United academy graduate.
Unlike the Hoops though, the English sides are unable to approach the 26-year-old on a pre-contract deal until the end of the season, so they’d have to stump up some cash to prize him away from Deepdale.
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Is it likely to happen this month?
Judging by the fact that Preston are trying awfully hard to sign highly-rated Doncaster captain Ben Whiteman, it looks likely that Pearson will depart Deepdale this month.
It looks like he has no intention of signing a new deal with North End and that he’s looking for a fresh challenge, and Celtic could provide him with European football and huge crowds when things get back to normal.
But they may have to move quick to secure his signature with English interest also circling, and if Whiteman does end up joining North End the club will more-than-likely try and push to get some cash for their prized asset instead of losing him for absolutely nothing.