Liverpool have recently completed a deal to sign defender Ben Davies on a permanent deal, with his contract previously being set to expire with Preston North End in the summer.
Davies made 145 senior appearances in total for North End, since coming through the club’s academy system early into his career.
Celtic were previously interested in a deal to sign Davies though, with Football Insider claiming that the Bhoys were in advanced talks to sign the 25-year-old on a pre-contract deal, although that ultimately failed to materialise, with Davies opting to sign for Liverpool late into the January transfer window.
Speaking in a recent interview with Sky Sports News, Neil admitted that he expected Davies to move to Celtic, although he wasn’t confident that the Scottish giants would match Preston’s valuation of the defender.
“I think people will be ‘I shouldn’t say surprised’ because he’s done extremely well for us. But I think he’s at a stage this season where his games came together and I think that if he gets an opportunity, we’re talking about a quality centre-back.
“To my knowledge, the deal with Celtic was one that looked as if that was where he was going to end up. However, we wouldn’t have in this window allowed him to go to Celtic unless there was a substantial fee attached to it which I don’t think we would have got from them.
“For all the discussions I had with Ben Davies, I fully anticipated him to be staying until the end of the season. The unnaturally Liverpool came in and that blew everything out of the water.”
Preston are set to return to action this weekend, when they take on relegation-threatened Rotherham United at Deepdale, where they’ll be looking to pick up three points to stay in touch with the play-off chasing teams in the Championship.
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This is an interesting reveal from the Preston North End boss.
Celtic’s interest in signing Davies on a pre-contract deal was well-publicised, but I’m not surprised to hear that Preston weren’t keen on moving him on during the January transfer window.
He’s a player that has impressed me with Alex Neil’s side, and I wasn’t surprised in the slightest to see him pursue a move to Liverpool.
It’s a sizeable step up to the Premier League champions though, and it’ll be interesting to see how much game time Davies finds with Jurgen Klopp’s side.