Ben Davies to Celtic rumours heat up; "not my remit" says Alex Neil

By Euan Davidson

December 19, 2020

Preston North End manager Alex Neil “hopes” to keep Ben Davies, as Celtic links intensify.

Following Preston’s win over Bristol City last night, Neil stated his optimism that key players will stay at the Deepdale beyond the summer.

The Scottish Sun reported a deal for Davies as being all but inevitable back in September. However, the centre-back is yet to commit either way.

Alex Neil has been bullish in his determination to hold on to Davies, but said it was out of his control.

The Daily Record reckon this is all encouraging for Celtic.

Frustrated: Preston’s Alex Neil doesn’t want to lose Ben Davies to Celtic / (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

“Not really my remit”

In quotes attributed to LancsLive, Neil said:

“To be fair, the club has been working hard… really it’s a decision for the players and the clubs and the agents to get around the table.

“I don’t have any bearing on that, that’s not really my remit here.

“I’ve just got to get the team organised and win games, so let’s hope something gets resolved because there are no questions that we are a better team with them still here.

“I hope that’s the case come the end of the window.”

Celtic bound? Preston’s Ben Davies / (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

What Davies might bring to Celtic

Davies has averaged 1.3 tackles and 1.4 interceptions so far this season (WhoScored?). While he’s certainly not a ball-playing defender in the mould of Kristoffer Ajer, his ability to clear the ball and cut out moves are real attributes.

Valued at just over £2m (Transfermarkt), bringing in Davies would represent an improve to Celtic’s depth. Whether or not he’d be a guaranteed starter remains to be seen.

A product of Preston’s youth system, losing the defender for nothing would be a real disappointment for the club. With Daniel Johnson, Alan Browne and Ben Pearson’s contracts all expiring, Scott Sinclair may need to make new pals for the 21-22 season.