West Ham United have confirmed the signing of Craig Dawson on loan from Watford; leaving the door open for Celtic to snap up Preston’s Ben Davies in January.
The Sun reported over the summer period that the Hoops were likely to try and sign centre-back Davies on a pre-contract in 2021.
However, that initially looked like it had been thrown into severe doubt. The Sunday Mirror (print edition, 11/10, p73) stated over the weekend that David Moyes was considering a move for one of three centre-back targets. Both Dawson and Davies were on that list.
The Mirror also reported that Moyes knew all about Preston’s Davies due to his strong links with the club after his time there as a manager. Yet, in the end, it appears the London club have moved for Dawson instead.
Whilst there’s nothing to stop West Ham also flying in for Davies before Friday’s domestic window deadline in England, it looks unlikely. The Hammers now have Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna, and Issa Diop alongside new man Dawson. Given they have two options for either centre-back position, there’s no major need for them to move for Davies.
Pre-contract option looks tasty from a Celtic perspective
Given Preston reportedly value Davies at £10million (Sheffield Star), Celtic are unlikely to be signing him and immediately bringing him to the club in the new year.
However, the prospect of signing a player like Davies – who will soon be coming into his peak years – for nothing on a pre-contract is an enticing prospect.
Celtic signed Shane Duffy in the summer on loan until the end of the season. Therefore we’re still well stocked until the summer unless there are any surprising January departures. But given the club’s reluctance to do any deals in recent months, that resistance should only be stronger in the winter window.
But Davies has worked his way up from the National League to the English Championship. For him, completing that final step to the Premier League may be something that fuels him when it comes to signing a pre-contract elsewhere.
Yet this is one Celtic will almost certainly be looking at. Others such as Philadelphia Union’s Mark McKenzie should also be on our radar as a major job on the back-line may need done next summer.
With Ajer likely to be saying his goodbyes at the end of the season and no guarantees over Duffy, future-planning in the position is an absolute must.