Why Celtic signing Ben Davies for free would be a real coup
Davies’ current deal at Deepdale is due to expire at the end of the season. While Preston are willing to tie him down to fresh terms, the centre-back is not prepared to commit his future to the club. The 25-year-old’s unresolved contract scenario has also prompted Championship rivals Bournemouth to pursue an interest in him.
As per the report, Celtic have already made contact with Davies over a pre-contract agreement that would see him move to Parkhead on a free transfer ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
Celtic’s defensive woes
Lack of stability at the back has been one of the major reasons behind Celtic’s inconsistencies on all fronts this season. Neil Lennon’s side have conceded 20 goals in 24 league games this term so far. Those numbers are a massive downgrade when you consider that Celtic shipped only 19 goals throughout last season.
Moreover, the fact that Rangers have conceded just 7 times in 26 games clearly underlines why the Gers have managed to build a near-unassailable lead in the title race. In truth, Celtic have been outplayed in all departments by Gerrard’s side, which is something they need to sort out to get things back on track in the following campaign.
The Hoops roped in Shane Duffy on loan from Brighton this past summer to bolster their backline. But the Irishman has struggled to live up to the expectations at Parkhead and is due to return to his parent club at the end of the season.
Celtic have been struck hard by the injury to Christopher Jullien while utility man Nir Bitton and Kristoffer Ajer have also failed to hit the heights expected of them. Thus, a new centre-back should definitely be top of the club’s agenda in the transfer market.
Davies a real bargain on a pre-contract?
Putting things into context, Ben Davies ticks plenty of boxes to come through the door at Celtic as an immediate game-changer at the back. The Lancashire-born centre-back has played 129 times for Preston in the EFL Championship, proving his worth as a consistent performer at that level over the past three seasons.
The 25-year-old also boasts considerable experience lower down the Football League through loan spells at Newport County, Fleetwood Town, York City and Tranmere Rovers. Hence, Celtic have enough reason to be confident that Davies would be able to make a seamless transition to Scottish football moving forward.
Plus, his left-footed nature should also go a long way towards adding more balance to Celtic’s centre-back options. Ajer, Jullien, Bitton and Elhamed are all right-footed defenders, meaning the inclusion of Davies would be a real boost to the club’s backline.
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With his best years still ahead of him at 25, it is a no-brainer that Celtic nabbing him on a free transfer would be an excellent piece of business.