Celtic missed out on their main transfer target yesterday, as Liverpool made a late surprise play for Preston North End defender Ben Davies.
The Hoops had been locked in negotiations with Davies for quite a few days, with speculation during the week that he had agreed terms on a pre-contract deal to take him to Parkhead in the summer.
Further reports claimed that they were trying to bring Davies to Glasgow before the deadline, which would have meant paying a transfer fee for the 25-year-old to take him immediately from PNE.
But the shock news emerged yesterday that the Premier League champions were lining up a move for Davies, and not long after a £1.6 million fee – just £500,000 of that being up-front – was agreed.
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It has angered Celtic fans who were excited to welcome Davies to the club, only for it to fall through in the last minute and blame has been put on the club hierarchy for waiting too long to get it sorted.
Now Celtic boss Neil Lennon has spoken out on the Reds’ late hijacking of the deal, and he can completely understand why Davies would choose Jurgen Klopp’s outfit.
“It’s a blow because we were very close to doing that but obviously we got gazumped at the last minute by Liverpool,” said Lennon, per Sky Sports.
“He lives in that area and obviously I am sure financially it would be quite rewarding for him so I am disappointed but we move on.”
It seems like Celtic just took far, far too long to get a deal sorted, but it may not be all their fault.
They were good enough to make contact with Preston to inform them they were starting negotiations with Davies regarding a pre-contract arrangement despite not needing to do so, but that happened six days ago.
So Celtic could have tied Davies down a bit quicker, but there’s every chance that the player wanted to assess his options for a bit longer – and he will be glad he took that time now as he’s set to sign on the dotted line at Anfield.