Alex Neil on "disconnect" between Ben Davies and Preston; Celtic must be monitoring events

By David Walton

November 19, 2020

Preston boss Alex Neil has discussed the situation regarding Ben Davies after offering his star centre-back a new contract this week.

Celtic have previously been linked with a January swoop for the Englishman, whose contract is up at the end of the season.

However, despite Preston moving to try and tie him down on a new deal, Neil hasn’t played him since late October when the player picked up a hamstring injury. Davies has now failed to make the matchday squad in any of Preston’s last six matches.

And as Neil looked to provide an update on the contract offers, he hinted to the Lancashire Post that there was a “disconnect” between the players yet to sign up on new deals and the club itself.

“I’ve made it really quite clear from my perspective and I’ve spoken to the club, Peter (Ridsdale) and everybody involved in it. You want your best players to sign, I don’t think there’s any qualms about that and I’m hopeful that we’ll get something done. But, like with a lot of these things it’s other people’s decisions to make rather than mine.

“I think what we really want to try and do, is we need to realign our best player’s futures with our future. Because I think when there’s a disconnect there then that’s a real real problem.

“Whether you like it or not, if your future isn’t lying where you currently are at the moment, I don’t think you’re fully going to get the best out of someone when that’s the case. So I’m hoping that this will resolve itself and that’s been my hope for quite a long time now; I want to just try and get that done ASAP.”

Neil clearly starting to get frustrated

There’s clearly a window of opportunity there for Celtic as the Preston boss continues to get more and more frustrated over his top players’ contract situations.

Davies falls into that category, and if he was going to stick around with the Championship club, then you have to wonder why on earth he hasn’t signed already. At face value, it seems clear that he’s thinking of moving on in the near future.

That could set Celtic up for a pre-contract move in January, and thus make it easier to negotiate with Preston regarding a permanent move in the winter window.

Reported Celtic target Ben Davies / (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Celtic should, just like they should be doing with Charlton’s Alfie Doughty, be keeping tabs on Davies’ injury, however. Ensuring he returns and starts performing to a capable standard once more could be one of our priorities before we make any move for him.

But let’s also be clear that there’s no guarantee that Davies will be itching to make the move up north either. He was reportedly eager on a move to the Bundesliga after interest from Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke in the summer (The Sun on Sunday, 25/10, page 61). So nothing’s certain on his end either.

However, if we’re looking at the bigger picture, it’s starting to look as though Davies won’t be staying at Preston beyond the summer, regardless of the fact there’s a new deal on the table.

In other news, Jackie McNamara has exclusively told 67HailHail that he thinks a young Premiership startlet could be good enough for the Hoops one day.