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Burnley's hijack: The Preston transfer saga that simply can't be repeated this summer

Preston have plenty of work to do in the transfer window this summer, with Frankie McAvoy needing some reinforcements.

North End will be looking for Daniel Iversen and Sepp van den Berg to rejoin on loan, whilst recruits are needed at right back and in the final third.

The rumours will no doubt begin to heat up in the coming weeks, and we’re bound to encounter a transfer saga or two.

Preston’s transfer sagas of years gone by

Some names will make Preston fans shudder; Taylor Twellman, Stevie May, Charlie Adam, Keammar Daley, Stuart Beavon. All were the subject of lengthy transfer sagas that brought all kinds of ‘in the know’ rumours and speculation.

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Some came off, some didn’t. In the case of May, he ended up signing a whole year after his transfer saga.

This summer, Preston will hope to avoid such sagas. We’d certainly hope so, both to have the players on board early, and for the sake of our sanity.

If there’s one saga we wouldn’t want repeated, it’s the 2015 chase of Chesterfield right back Tendayi Darikwa – a name that isn’t forgotten easily among Preston fans.

The Burnley hijack

Cast your mind back to 2015. Preston had dumped Chesterfield out of the League One playoffs with a 4-0 aggregate win, and then smashed Swindon Town 4-0 in the final.

Championship football was back at Deepdale, and fans were looking for North End to make a splash in the transfer market.

Right back was an area Preston clearly needed to strengthen. Marnick Vermijl arrived in the end, but he wasn’t North End’s top choice.

That was Tendayi Darikwa. He had been shining for Chesterfield in League One and had impressed in two playoff games against Preston, and seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

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He was young, quick, attack minded, a perfect fit as the right wing back when Simon Grayson played five at the back, and was ready to step up to the Championship.

For weeks, months even, Preston fans were urging the club to get the deal done.

One bid was rejected. Darikwa had indicated he wanted the move. Chesterfield were standing firm and holding out for more cash, which Preston just wouldn’t pay.

The season was drawing closer and Preston still didn’t have Darikwa on board. Hopes began to raise again towards the end of July, but disaster struck for North End on the 30th.

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Darikwa was heading to Lancashire, but not to Preston. Instead, bitter rivals Burnley had swooped in and signed Darikwa to a three-year deal.

Boss Sean Dyche was a Chesterfield legend. He’d been eyeing Darikwa for some time, but after facing the Spireites in a friendly, he decided the time was right to move for Darikwa and snatch him from under Preston’s nose.

Fans were gutted. Not only had the top right back target slipped through the net after weeks of haggling, but he’d ended up signing for our neighbours.

If Preston have key targets this summer, let’s hope they get them in without losing them to a rival like Blackburn Rovers or Blackpool, as going through the Darikwa saga again would be just as painful.

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