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Opinion: Move for 28-year-old free agent is risk worth taking as likes of Derby and Bolton circle

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It seems as though Tom Barkhuizen will be a man in demand over the course of the summer.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the winger will be leaving Preston North End this summer after five-and-a-half-years at Deepdale, when his contract with the club expires.

But despite that, it seems that the 28-year-old is unlikely to be without a club for too long at all, judging by recent reports.

According to journalist Alan Nixon, League One promotion winners Rotherham United, as well as Derby County and Bolton Wanderers – who themselves will both be targeting promotion from the third-tier next season – are all targeting moves for Barkhuizen this summer.

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Admittedly, given injury has restricted the winger to just a handful of appearances for Preston this season, none of which have come since January, there is certainly a risk associated with this move, due to the concerns there will be around a lack of match fitness for the 28-year-old.

But despite that, it is hard not to feel as though a move for Barkhuizen, is a risk worth taking for one of these sides.

With the exception of his struggles this season, the winger has been a regular feature for Preston during his time with the club, making almost 200 Championship appearances for the club.

As a result, Barkhuizen certainly knows what he is doing at that level, meaning he could certainly has the the proven ability to help a club win promotion to, or establish themselves in the second-tier.

Indeed, with 38 goals and 22 assists in 209 appearances for Preston across all competitions, there can be no arguing with the fact that Barkhuizen is more than capable of making things happen in the Championship, and could flourish even more at League One level were he to join a club such as Derby or Bolton.

That experience he brings could also be a useful asset in helping the young players at whichever club he next finds himself at, not least if that proves to be Derby, given it still remains to be seen exactly what shape their squad will be in, amid the off-field uncertainty that surrounds the club.

Even with that experience, at 28-years-old, Barkhuizen still has plenty of time on his side in his career, both to get himself fit, and then go on to make an impact for whichever side are able to pick him up.

Add in the fact that with his departure from Preston now confirmed, Barkhuizen will be available on a free transfer, and this could certainly be a useful deal for these clubs from a financial perspective, with that climate still far from easy to deal with, as Derby well know.

With that in mind, it is hard not to feel as though these clubs are taking the right approach with stance on Barkhuizen, and they could be well advised to act on their interest quickly, before another club beats them to it.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Move for 28-year-old free agent is risk worth taking as likes of Derby and Bolton circle

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