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Opinion: This soon-to-be free agent could be a shrewd acquisition for Preston North End

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In recent days, it has emerged that Preston North End could be a destination for soon-to-be free agent and current Watford striker Andre Gray this summer.

As per The Sun (May 8th, page 59) Ryan Lowe is looking to add to his frontline this summer by potentially bringing the 30-year-old to Deepdale.

Whilst Andre Gray certainly has his flaws and is far from perfect, on a free transfer, he could be a very shrewd acquisition for the Lilywhites.

2021/22

Following Watford’s promotion to the Premier League, Andre Gray was loaned back to the EFL and Queens Park Rangers with one year of his current deal remaining.

Whilst he wasn’t always the first name on the team sheet at QPR, he showed he is a fantastic player to have on the bench and bring on at this level of football.

Whether Gray enjoyed this role or not – we don’t know, but, his numbers speak for themselves.

10 goals in 28 Championship appearances is not a bad return straight up, but when you consider that Gray would often come off early, or be used as a substitute, this tally is even more impressive.

According to WyScout, for example, Gray averaged 0.66 goals per 90 minutes of football. That is a higher tally than the Championship’s second top-scorer Dominic Solanke (0.59).

Gray also produced these numbers overperforming his expected goals (xG) and efficiently.

The 30-year-old took just 2.05 shots per 90 on average across the season and hit the target with 61.3% of these efforts. Perhaps this is why he was able to outperform his expected goals on 0.42 per 90 by quite some way.

Finishing isn’t something you would have said was Gray’s strongpoint, but he clearly put his chances away this season.

Quiz: Which club did Preston North End sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?

1 of 24

Paul Parry?

Preston fit

Having discussed the above, it would be negligent not to mention whether Preston would be a good fit.

They have a goalscorer in Emil Riis already, who scored 16 in 44 Championship appearances this season, but given that North End play in a two, there is no reason Gray could not play alongside.

At Watford, Gray would often be partnered in a front two with Troy Deeney, so he is more than used to forming a strike partnership.

Additionally, with Cameron Archer set to return to Aston Villa, Preston are a man down in the forward areas.

All things considered then, whilst things didn’t always work out at Watford in the Premier League – although he did have his moments – Andre Gray has shown this season he has plenty to offer at Championship level.

His numbers at QPR this campaign speak for themselves, and he could certainly fit in well at Preston alongside Emil Riis.

It’s likely that as a character he would fit in under Ryan Lowe, too. Whilst Gray’s technical ability can sometimes be found wanting, one thing nobody can question is his desire to work hard or his ability to keep trying things and not shy away.

At Watford, even when things were not going well, he would always put a shift in.

Those attributes, along with his ability to score at this level – and efficiently this past season – mean Andre Gray could be a good fit at Preston North End next season.


BJTC accredited MA Multimedia Journalism graduate. Freelance Football Writer for FLW.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: This soon-to-be free agent could be a shrewd acquisition for Preston North End

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