Ben Davies is set to end a 13-year association with Preston North End this year, as a move to Scottish giants Celtic looks very likely.
Sky Sports have reported that Davies has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Hoops, although there seems to be conflicting reports from local Glasgow outlets on how far down the line the deal is, including from Radio Clyde’s Alison Conroy.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon himself has admitted that a deal isn’t done to bring the 25-year-old to Parkhead, but he is in the market for a centre-back this month after losing Christopher Jullien to injury.
That could turn a potential pre-contract scenario into a transfer this month, but with just a few days left of the transfer window they are running out of time, and Celtic will need to agree a fee with North End pretty quickly.
Let’s look at two side-effects that North End could face with the imminent departure of Davies.
Quiz: Who has done more of these 15 things out of Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End?
More goals being leaked
For a team that has conceded 33 goals in 26 league games, North End are doing surprisingly well right now when it comes to keeping the ball out of their own goal.
PNE have conceded just three goals in their last seven league outings, and in all of those games Davies has partnered the evergreen Paul Huntington.
Davies and Patrick Bauer was the usual starting pairing until the latter’s achilles injury last month, but Huntington has stepped into his shoes and things seem to be going surprisingly well.
So if Davies does depart in the next few days, North End could fall back into their old ways of conceding for fun, with Jordan Storey the only other centre-back available and he hasn’t impressed this season.
If Davies waits until the summer to move, then at least North End can plan ahead and not have to fear about having their currently solid partnership at the back being broken up.
No more playing out from the back
Whilst Huntington is more of a traditional centre-back – heading anything that comes his way and clearing crosses into row Z – Davies is a more modern-day defender, one who can dribble the ball out of defence and create attacks.
Davies’ ability to start plays from the back and his range of passing abilities are well-noted, which is why there has been considerable interest in him from Celtic and other clubs like Bournemouth.
Combined with his strength and ability to win headers, it makes Davies a valuable commodity for Celtic and they could turn him into a multi-million pound defender in the future due to his skill set.