Alex Neil provides update on Ben Davies to Celtic speculation
English Championship defender Ben Davies has held talks with his Preston boss Alex Neil regarding his future amid heavy Celtic speculation.
Sky Sports reported earlier this week that the Hoops were close to wrapping up a deal for him to sign for the club in January. There have also been reports stating that Celtic want him in by tomorrow [Football Insider].
Davies’ contract is up at the end of the season. Therefore, Celtic are free to sign him up for the new campaign immediately. But in terms of getting him in this month, cash will still need to be spent.
But Neil has stated that the player has held talks with him as he made his transfer stance clear, before admitting it could be subject to change:
As quoted by the Lancashire Post, the Preston manager said: “I haven’t really heard anything (about Celtic) apart from what was in the paper. Ben hasn’t said a word to me about it. He has been good all the way through, this has only just appeared.
“As far as I’m aware from the discussions I’ve had before with Ben, he has so far committed to certainly being here to at least the end of the season. That has been the discussion I’ve had to this point, naturally that is subject to change but I’ve not been made aware of any change.
“I’m not in control of this situation so it is a hard question for me to answer. I could say, ‘Yes, he will be here until the end of the season’ and then he leaves tonight and I look silly.”
Celtic speculation on Ben Davies doesn’t look like going away
Neil certainly doesn’t seem certain. He looks as though he has his player’s word that he’ll stay for the season, but things can change quickly in football.
It all depends on the player’s mindset here. He could feel he owes Preston at least some degree of loyalty. That he would give his all for the club and give them plenty of time to source a replacement for the summer.
However, he could also go the other way. The Lilywhites are 11th in the Championship, six points behind the playoff places having played a game more. It looks, certainly at this stage, that their chances of reaching the top six are extremely slim.
It’s not that there’s nothing left to fight for at Davies’ current club. But he could benefit from moving to Celtic now and getting used to his team-mates before the summer. Celtic have often been criticised for failing to sign players in January in order to have them ready for Champions League qualifiers in the summer. If they’re sticking by Neil Lennon, they would be as well bringing him in now.
A pre-contract agreement is all well and good, but Celtic fans will hope to have a new manager by then. It could be worth Davies coming now in order to make himself a respected and reliable figure before any upheaval arrives.
We’ll see what happens over the next few days. However, if Lennon’s comments are anything to go by, the club still want a centre-back in now [Scottish Sun].