All in all, it has been a frustratingly quiet summer transfer window in terms of incomings at Preston North End.
With Randers striker Emil Riis Jakobsen the club’s only senior signing so far, and the suggestion being that there will be no new faces following the Danish youth international into Deepdale in the final few days of the window, there has been little to shout about in the market for the Lancashire club.
Instead, Preston fans have rather had to content themselves with their clubs ability to see of high profile interest in their key players – namely centre back Ben Davies and Daniel Johnson – without too much concern.
Celtic, West Ham and Sheffield United have all been linked with a move for Davies, although it seems as though North End’s seemingly unwavering £10million valuation, has helped to put those clubs off a move for the 25-year-old.
Rangers meanwhile, reportedly saw a £1.5million offer rejected for Johnson, with no deal ultimately materialising to take the attacker to Ibrox before the international transfer window closed last week.
With little business being done in terms of new signings, retaining the likes of Davies and Johnson this summer, will surely be vital for Preston, if they are to mount a push for the play-offs in the coming campaign.
While Davies offers a stabilising and controlling presence in North End’s centre of defence, Johnson has emerged as one of the club’s main attacking outlets in recent years, finishing last season as both their top scorer, and most influential player in terms of assists.
But although keeping these two players beyond the end of this window is inevitably a major boost boost for Preston, it could also present them with a problem of an even greater kind, in the not too distant future.
As things stand, both Davies and Johnson will be out of contract at the end of this season, and that could make things worse for Preston if the sort of interest we have seen in the duo over the past few months, were to emerge again.
Had Preston agreed a deal for the sale of either or both of these players during the current transfer window, they would have at least received a fee for them that could have been reinvested in the rest of the squad.
That however, would not be the case if they were to leave Deepdale next summer having failed to put pen to paper on a new contract with the Lancashire club – allowing them to leave for free – and they might not even have to wait until then for that issue to arise.
If Celtic and Rangers are to continue to hold an interest in the pair, then as overseas clubs, they could yet secure a pre-contract agreement with Davies and Johnson as early as the January transfer window, an approach it is already being reported Celtic are planning to take with regards to Davies.
Should deals such as that happen either in January or next summer, then not only would Alex Neil’s side be losing two hugely important players, but they would be doing so without receiving any funds with which to then go out and find replacements for the duo, leaving them even more exposed on the pitch in the future.
It seems therefore, that it is essential that Preston secure new contracts for Davies and Johnson as quickly as possible, but given the profile of the clubs that are interested in them, convincing the duo to remain at Deepdale may not be all that easy.
As a result, it feels as though Preston will have to show these two players that they are genuine promotion contenders in the next few months if they are to have any hope of securing these all important deals.
If they don’t, then the prospect of losing the duo without receiving any fees with which to reinforce their squad could become very real very soon, and that would surely move the prospect of North End finally breaking the glass ceiling and making their way into the Premier League, even further away.