Alex Neil expected Ben Davies at Celtic but says Bhoys wouldn't have paid January fee

By John McGinley

February 4, 2021

Preston North End manager Alex Neil thought Ben Davies was destined to be a Celtic player before Liverpool swooped in at the last moment.

Neil Lennon admitted that Celtic were trying to get a deal for Davies over the line before the end of the transfer window.

However, the Preston boss reckons that wouldn’t have happened because the Bhoys weren’t going to stump up the necessary fee.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Alex Neil said: “To my knowledge the deal with Celtic was one that looked as if that was where he was going to end up.

“However, we would have not allowed him to go to Celtic in this window unless there was a substantial fee attached to it, which I don’t think we would have got from them.

“With all the conversations I had with Ben Davies, I anticipated him staying until the end of the season but when Liverpool came in that blew everything out of the water.

“I don’t think people should be surprised because he has done very well with us. I think he is at a stage, certainly this season, where his game has come together. I think if he does get an opportunity he can become a real quality centre-back.”

It certainly sounds like a deal was there to be done for Davies prior to Liverpool’s interest. Neil is doubting the intention of Celtic spending money though, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans at this point.

Celtic wanted to sign Ben Davies but Liverpool swooped in / (Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

We’ve long known that if the club can save a pound, they’ll do it, even if it means missing out on a player!

From the outside, it seems that the Bhoys took the Davies pre-contract for granted.

Obviously we couldn’t predict that Liverpool would come in, but that’s why it’s important to act quickly in an ever-evolving transfer market.

In other news, Neil Lennon feels vindicated on his recent Celtic rant.