This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Preston North End are reportedly targeting a move for Celtic winger Jonny Hayes according to the Daily Mail.
Hayes is out-of-contract with the Scottish giants heading into the summer, and the club have already revealed that he will leave when his contract expires.
Hayes signed for the club back in 2017, and went on to make 68 appearances in total for the Bhoys, whilst playing his part in their numerous domestic successes.
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A move to Preston could be a tempting proposition for the winger as well, with the Lilywhites currently occupying one of the play-off places in the Championship.
The Championship season has been scheduled to get back underway on the weekend of the 20th June, with off-the-field events previously calling a halt to fixtures across the EFL.
But would Hayes be a good addition to the Preston North End team ahead of next season if they reached an agreement with the 32-year-old?
I can see this being the type of signing that would work for Preston in the short-term.
When you think of a ‘Preston type’ of player, someone like Hayes fits the bill; he’s not a high-profile name, but still a very good player and someone who could do a job in the Championship.
The problem for North End is going to be if they end up winning promotion because the calibre of player will have to change.
However, having targets like Hayes on the radar now is no bad thing.
It didn’t work out as he would have wanted at Celtic but that is in part thanks to injury and the form of other players in front of him in the pecking order.
There was a reason he got the Celtic move, though, and that was because he was, and is, a good player and so Alex Neil will feel as though if he can get him on form it’s a worthwhile punt.
Neil will know which players can move from Scotland and make a success of themselves in England given his Scottish background, and he may feel Hayes has the right attributes and level of quality.
Preston have plenty of quality attacking players going forward and the addition of Hayes on a free transfer would be another exciting addition to their attacking armoury.
Hayes is a very experienced player who has been there and done it, winning many major trophies which would only add to the winning mentality that Alex Neil is trying to build at Deepdale.
He scores goals and creates them, and it would be a real coup to bring him to Deepdale with so many clubs likely to be after his signature.
With the likes of Scott Sinclair, Sean Maguire, Tom Barkhuizen and potentially Hayes to choose from, Preston could be a real force to be reckoned with next season should they stay in the Championship.