Preston boss Alex Neil responds to Celtic speculation regarding Ben Davies

By David Walton

August 30, 2020

Preston North End manager Alex Neil has responded jovially to speculation linking Celtic to his centre-back Ben Davies.

It had been reported over the weekend that Celtic were interested in a move for the Championship defender (Football Insider).

Celtic are in the market for a centre-back, with Neil Lennon reportedly eyeing up a further three new acquisitions this summer (Scottish Sun). With that being said, plenty of names have been banded around since the Hoops came back for pre-season.

Celtic-linked Preston centre-back Ben Davies (Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

So, unsurprisingly, Preston boss Neil told Lancs Live that there has been no contact as of yet from the Scottish champions.

“Absolutely not (been any contact) as far as I’m aware.

“If they were coming to buy him? Yeah, well if they’ve got £10m then maybe. Peter Risdale (Preston advisor) would probably tell you £20m.”

Not a hope

This was clearly a bit of a jovial response from the Preston boss, but it’s clear they value Davies highly. Perhaps a touch too highly.

Of course, he would bring plenty of experience. At 25, he’s already made over 120 appearances for Preston as well as 110 in the English Championship (Transfermarkt).

Davies has also played right through the leagues in England with the exception of the Premier League. Working his way up from the National League, the defender has played in League Two, League One, and the Championship. That’s a fine level of experience to his name.

Neil Lennon is in the market for new defenders / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

However, with reports linking Celtic to Sampdoria’s Omar Colley (Sampdoria News), and more frequently Shane Duffy (Daily Record), you can be forgiven for taking the Davies link with a pinch of salt.

Of course, Celtic may end up needing two new centre-backs this season if Kristoffer Ajer departs. Southampton are reportedly interested in prizing the Norwegian away from Parkhead (The Express), and with Champions League football no longer on offer, that task may have just gotten a little easier.

With a Jozo Simunovic-shaped hole already needing filled at the back, the last thing the Hoops need is to lose any further defensive cover before the end of the transfer window.

In other news, yet another Celtic-linked defender looks set to seal a move elsewhere.