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Celtic winning this 3-way battle to sign 25-year-old star would be a fantastic move by Lennon

Preston defender Ben Davies in action. (Getty Images)
Preston defender Ben Davies in action. (Getty Images)

Why Celtic should go all out for Preston star Ben Davies 

According to the Mirror, Scottish champions Celtic are locked in a three-way transfer battle with Bundesliga clubs Cologne and Stuttgart for Preston North End centre-back Ben Davies. 

The 25-year-old’s existing contract at Deepdale expires in June 2021 and Celtic are planning to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with the defender in January that would see him move to Parkhead on a free transfer next summer. (h/t Mirror)

As per the report, Preston are keen to offer him fresh terms but a move to Celtic remains a strong possibility, with manager Neil Lennon understood to be a big admirer of the defender.

Profile

Born in Barrow, Ben Davies rose through the youth ranks of Preston North End before making his first-team debut for his boyhood club during the 2012-13 campaign.

Ben Davies Signs New Deal Until 2021 - News - Preston North End
Ben Davies has been targeted by Celtic (Getty Images)

Davies subsequently spent time on loan at York City, Southport, Newport County, Tranmere Rovers and Fleetwood Town in the lower divisions as a part of his development before establishing himself as a regular fixture at the back for Preston in the 2017-18 season.

The 25-year-old has since evolved into one of the most highly regarded central defenders in the EFL Championship, making 126 appearances for the Lilywhites across all competitions. In addition to that, Davies also boasts more than 100 career appearances for various clubs on loan.

Why Celtic need Davies 

Celtic made wholesale changes to their central defensive unit last summer, bringing in the likes of Christopher Jullien and Hatem Abd Elhamed to compete with Kristoffer Ajer for a spot in the starting eleven.

Neil Lennon’s recruitment paid off handsomely, with the Hoops conceding only 19 goals en route to their ninth straight domestic triumph last term. Jullien, in particular, also impressed in the Europa League as Celtic registered spectacular wins over Lazio and Rennes in the group stages of the competition. 

Centre half Ben Davies is helping Preston find the right balance in defence | Lancashire Evening Post
Davies has featured over 120 times for Preston in all competitions (Getty Images)

Celtic have gone into the 2020-21 campaign with roughly the same defensive unit, although the departure of Jozo Simunovic earlier this summer has dealt a serious blow to the club’s depth at the back.

Plus, with Ajer attracting interest from several Premier League clubs, Celtic might be forced to part ways with the Norwegian should they receive an offer that they simply can’t refuse.

Regardless of Ajer’s future and the presence of utility star Nir Bitton, Celtic can certainly do with another specialist centre-back in their ranks to cope with the challenge of having to compete on multiple fronts.

To put things into context, Ben Davies could be an excellent addition to the squad at Parkhead. The 25-year-old’s experience and proven track record in England’s second-tier suggest that he is more than good enough to make a big impact in the Scottish Premiership.

A year of Neil Lennon at Celtic. Has it been a success? – The Athletic
Celtic boss Neil Lennon (Getty Images)

The fact that Davies is being chased by top-flight clubs in Germany lies testament to his talent and potential as a defender. Plus, he still has his best years ahead of him at 25, so Celtic have every reason to believe that he could be a wonderful long-term solution to their defensive problems.

Another factor that should appeal to Celtic is Davies’ left-footed nature as a centre-back. The Hoops currently don’t have a left-footed central defender in their ranks and the 25-year-old could offer something different in that regard. 

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Verdict 

Celtic will need to fend off stiff competition from elsewhere if they are to get their hands on Ben Davies. However, bringing in a player of his calibre on a free transfer would certainly represent a fantastic coup for the Hoops.

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