Transfers understandably aren’t at the top of Preston’s priority list right now. The global pandemic has left almost all clubs battling to deal with financial implications, so the transfer window could be a quiet one.
Free agents will be in high demand, and Preston will surely operate in that market. The club chose not to furlough the majority of their staff, so protecting those already at the club is the priority.
Still, players will become available that attract Preston’s interest. A striker must be on the radar, and one just hit the market at the other end of the M55.
Armand Gnanduillet has confirmed that he is leaving Blackpool at the end of his contract this summer. The Tangerines have been trying to keep hold of Gnanduillet, but he is moving on after the best season is his career.
Gnanduillet will almost certainly win a move to the Championship. Joining Preston would be controversial given his hero status at Bloomfield Road, but we understand that North End have at least looked at him. Whether they actually make a move is another matter.
So, let’s talk about the positives with him. Right off the bat, he fits the athletic profile Alex Neil tends to like up front. Gnanduillet is a giant at 6ft 4in tall, but possesses greater mobility than Jayden Stockley and just as dangerous in the air.
His goal record this season was superb. Gnanduillet hit 18 goals in 36 games for Blackpool, scoring all types of goals. A number of goals were impressive headers, but he also showed the willingness to run in behind too.
Gnanduillet has – and pardon the cliché – good feet for a big man, and having excelled in League One, it’s time to step up. On a free transfer, Gnanduillet may well be worth a punt for North End, who certainly won’t be bothered by his Blackpool links, with Brad Potts and Tom Barkhuizen currently first-team players at Deepdale.
There are concerns though. Gnanduillet just turned 28, which isn’t the usual age North End target. He has no Championship experience at all, and his lack of success elsewhere suggests his 18-goal campaign could be a flash in the pan.
Staying in Lancashire could appeal to Gnanduillet, and given that North End wouldn’t have to pay a fee, there are certainly worse options out there. A move would still be a gamble, and he may not be a long-term solution, but his athletic ability could make him fit in the Jordan Hugill role in Alex Neil’s system.