Preston North End fans were warned by some, and the club’s worst fears have been realised when it comes to Izzy Brown.
The talented 24-year-old finally found a permanent home in Lancashire this summer after leaving Chelsea after spending the majority of his time at Stamford Bridge out on loan in the EFL.
Whilst nobody can deny that Brown has a lot of ability, keeping him fit has been another matter and following an ACL injury suffered during a loan spell at Brighton in early 2018, the attacking midfielder hasn’t been able to really establish himself anywhere without picking up some kind of injury setback.
PNE fans got to see their new man in action for the first time though when they faced Celtic in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, and Brown impressed in his second half cameo, especially with his set-piece delivery.
A cruel twist of fate would occur earlier this week though as after kicking a ball in training, Brown suffered an achilles injury – a scan confirming the worst fears that it was indeed a rupture and it will see the player sidelined for at least six months, if not longer.
North End already had a decent amount of depth in the number 10 role before Brown’s signing, but his ability to play multiple positions was a factor into his arrival and you’d imagine that considering he will be out for most of the season, Brown will be replaced in the transfer market.
It wouldn’t make much sense to go out and get someone in permanently, so the loan market may have to be scoured and there’s plenty of talent out there.
And with North End playing Manchester City in a friendly next week and already linked with striker Liam Delap, why not ask about Cole Palmer as well?
Standing at 6ft 2in and a natural attacking midfielder, Palmer has an exemplary scoring record in both City’s under-18’s and under 23’s in recent years.
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In his final year as an under-18 in the 2019-20 campaign, Palmer scored 15 times in 14 outings in the youth level Premier League, whilst also adding five assists to that tally from the attacking midfield position (transfermarkt).
Moving up to the under-23’s for the 2020-21 season, Palmer primarily played on the right-wing for City under Enzo Maresca, but even there he continued to flourish with 13 goals and six assists in the Premier League 2 competition in 16 matches (transfermarkt).
The 19-year-old also made a Champions League cameo against Marseille last season and got a full 90 minutes in the EFL Cup against Burnley, showing that Pep Guardiola rates him highly.
He’s not likely to get first-team opportunities next season though, and like the free-scoring Delap, Palmer may be ready for an EFL loan – and with North End training in Euxton which is not too far up the M61 from Manchester, the Lilywhites could be the ideal destination for the teenager.