Before any potential sales, North End don’t need a whole lot of work in this summer’ transfer market. Of course, promotion to the Premier League would change that, but for now, Preston will be planning for another Championship season. Signings may well depend on the futures of Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and Callum Robinson, but Alex Neil will hope for reinforcements.
One area Neil should be looking to strengthen is centre back. Yes, North End have seen both Jordan Storey and Ben Davies excel, but a specific addition would be wise.
In January, Neil told the LEP that Davies brings ‘balance’ to the back four, referring to him being left footed. No other centre back at the club is left footed, and adding cover would be wise, allowing North End to keep that balance in case Davies suffers an injury.
With that in mind, here are three left footed centre backs North End could consider for a summer move…
Ryan Tafazolli: North End raided Peterborough for Andrew Hughes last summer, and reuniting him with Tafazolli would be a cheap move. His Posh contract expires this summer, and he fits the Preston bill having impressed in League One and Two. He’s a little older than the usual Preston signing, turning 28 this September. Yet, standing at 6ft 5in tall, Tafazolli can bring height, especially with Paul Huntington’s future unclear. On a free transfer, Tafazolli could be an option, even if he isn’t exactly like Davies.
Sean McLoughlin: Yes, North End’s use of the Irish market has been a mixed bag. Whilst Alan Browne and Seani Maguire have been successes, it’s fair to say others haven’t. Kevin O’Connor, Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan and Graham Burke have all flopped. Some may not want another League of Ireland player signed, but one may be on the radar. TEAMtalk reported last summer that North End like Cork City centre back McLoughlin, and had been hoping to pip Premier League clubs. McLoughlin, 22, has been earning rave reviews in Ireland, and again offers height at 6ft 3in tall. The former UCC prospect looks set for a big future, and bringing him as competition for Davies could be a smart move – if North End are willing to gamble on another LOI player.
Stuart Findlay: Similarly, Preston fans may fear the Scottish market too after some flops in recent memory. Yet Findlay, 23, has starred with Kilmarnock, and recently earned a first Scotland call-up. Findlay is having a fine season, and fits the bill for North End. He’s been at big clubs in Celtic and Newcastle, but really honed his craft with Killie. In fact, he was at Celtic with Darnell Fisher, and may be familiar with Preston’s head of recruitment, Joe Savage. He would be the most expensive of the three, but he ticks many boxes for North End.