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Key Preston figure fuels transfer speculation amid reported interest from Celtic and Rangers

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Alex Neil has admitted that Preston North End are ‘not in control’ as the futures of Daniel Johnson and Ben Davies remain up in the air.

The Lilywhites duo are in an identical position to each other with both players due to be out of contract next summer.

As a result they can both open talks over a pre-contract agreement with any club based outside of England from January 1 – a date that is less than two weeks away.

Davies is a player who has been heavily linked with a move to Celtic next summer, while Johnson has been attracting interest of his own in the shape of Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.

While it remains to be seen what the future holds for the Preston pair it seems that the hierarchy at Deepdale are growing increasingly resigned to losing both players for nothing at the end of the season.

Neil has been asked about Johnson and Davies’ situation on a regular basis since the summer, and based on his latest comments, it seems that he’s losing faith in the club’s ability to retain the duo.

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Has Ben Davies scored a league goal for Preston North End?

Quoted by the Daily Record, Neil said: “In regards to contracts and transfers at this club, the best person to speak to is Peter (Ridsdale).

“He is the guy who deals with it, not me.

“Of course I would (like to have an answer before January), because it gives me clarity and we know what we’re doing.

“It’s an absolutely bizarre scenario, I’ve never seen anything like it but there’s nothing I can do about it.

“Like I say, if I’ve got a preference then naturally not. I want the lads to be settled and to realign their fortunes with ours.

“But, I’m not in control of that.”

The Verdict

This will be an absolute nightmare for Preston North End of they lose both players.

While there’s little that Alex Neil can do about his players attracting interest from elsewhere, there has to be a degree of frustration that the players’ contracts have been allowed to run down to this point.

To lose two of their most valuable players on a free transfer will be a disaster, and if they’ve made their mind up then the Lilywhites may even have to consider selling them in January in order to recoup some sort of fee.


North East-based EFL writer and aspiring author

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Key Preston figure fuels transfer speculation amid reported interest from Celtic and Rangers

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