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Celtic completing a cut-price deal for £10m-rated summer target would be a terrific long-term move

Ben Davies is a product of the Preston North End academy
Ben Davies is a product of the Preston North End academy

Why Celtic should go back in the market for Ben Davies

According to claims from Football Insider (h/t MSN), Celtic are set to make a renewed attempt to sign Preston North End centre-back Ben Davies when the transfer window reopens in January. 

The EFL Championship star had been repeatedly linked with a move to Parkhead during the summer window, but he ended up staying put at Deepdale after Preston refused to budge on their audacious £10million valuation of the defender. (h/t MSN)

As per the report, the Lilywhites are trying to convince the 25-year-old to sign a new contract, with his existing deal set to expire in 2021. However, a new deal for Davies is yet to be finalised and Celtic are now trying to sign him in a cut-price deal in January. 

How Ben Davies became Preston North End's prized possession in defence - LancsLive
Ben Davies had been linked with a move for Celtic in the summer (Getty Images)

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A youth exponent of Preston, Ben Davies made his first-team debut for the Lilywhites in League One in the 2012-13 campaign. He then went on loan to York City, Tranmere Rovers, Fleetwood Town and Newport County in the Football League, as well as to non-league outfit Southport before establishing himself prominently at his boyhood club in 2017-18.

The 25-year-old has since evolved into one of the most consistent central defenders in the EFL Championship, making 131 appearances across all competitions.

Davies would be a smart signing for Celtic

Celtic roped in Shane Duffy on a season-long loan deal from Brighton and Hove Albion after their pursuit of Ben Davies ended in failure. Duffy, though, is only a temporary solution as it would cost the Hoops a fortune to negotiate a permanent transfer for the Irishman.

The reigning Scottish champions managed to keep hold of Kristoffer Ajer in the summer amid interest from AC Milan. However, things could well be different in the near future should they receive an offer for the Norwegian that is too good to turn down. 

Preston must demand eight figures for Ben Davies - Deepdale Digest
Davies has made 131 appearances for Preston in all competitions (Getty Images)

Regardless of what the future holds for Ajer, however, Celtic should still look to go back in the winter market for Davies. There is a greater likelihood that Preston will eventually allow him to leave for a fee much lower than their previous £10million asking price if he doesn’t sign a new contract, thus potentially making a deal easier to materialise. 

Conversely, Celtic can also try to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Davies. The defender would be entering the last six months of his contract at Deepdale by the time the window reopens in January, leaving the door open for him to join the Hoops on a free transfer ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

The 25-year-old has been among the best-performing centre-backs in the EFL Championship over the past few years, meaning he’s more than ready to make a big impact in Scotland. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer that securing his services in a cut-price deal in January would be a coup for Lennon’s side. 

Ben Davies Agrees New Preston North End Contract - News - Preston North End
Source: Getty Images

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Verdict

Celtic already have quality defenders like Christopher Jullien, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Ajer in their ranks and it will be interesting to see someone like Ben Davies playing alongside them at Parkhead. The 25-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and he could well offer Lennon with a long-term solution at the back.

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