Well, it wouldn’t be a transfer window without talking about David Nugent and Preston, would it?
Pretty much… every transfer window since Nugent left Preston in 2007, we’ve discussed this same topic; would he return to Deepdale?
Nugent made his name with North End after a 2005 switch from Bury. He exploded onto the scene as a raw, fresh-faced kid from Liverpool, and Championship defences just couldn’t handle him.
His pace, work rate and general exuberance captivated North End fans. The numbers weren’t bad either; 37 goals in 107 outings for Preston, whilst he also picked up a cap – and a goal – for England whilst playing for North End.
Preston turned a £100,000 punt on a League Two striker into a £6million, full international. For 12 years now, we’ve wondered whether he’ll ever make an emotional return to Deepdale. He may not have started out at Preston, but you could certainly argue he was made here.
Now, we appear to have hit the final possible window for him to come back. Nugent has been let go by Derby County, he’s a free agent, and at 34, there won’t be another chance.
Fans have debated the logic of re-signing Nugent now. On the one hand, he’s a tried-and-tested, veteran Championship striker, and North End have been seeking a bit of experience. Add in that emotional pull, and you can see why it’s an idea being floated.
On the other, Nugent is well past his best. He’s just turned 34, and he scored just two goals for Derby last season. Nugent wouldn’t exactly bolster the North End attack any more than our current attackers. A signing may just be for that emotional reason.
There’s no great indication that North End want Nugent. However, with rumours abound that a signing may be arriving soon, fans have wondered whether it could be Nugent. The long-running joke about him arriving on a Friday has been rolled out once again.
This time though, Nugent himself has stirred up the rumours. That’s because he has just followed North End’s official Instagram account, as seen below.
If you can hear somebody audibly sighing, it’s probably me. However, we may as well delve into this one.
My gut instinct is that Nuge is having us on here. We’re just about an hour from Friday, he may have caught wind that fans are talking about him, and why not not have that bit of fun.
Yet to follow North End now – 12 years after leaving – has unsurprisingly piqued interest on social media. My best idea to justify signing Nugent is thus; Seani Maguire becomes a full-time winger, Louis Moult moves on, Nugent comes in alongside a young prospect.
It’s not THAT outlandish of an idea. Nugent can be a veteran presence in what would surely be his final Championship season, but whether he would have an impact outside of that is debatable.
North End may want experience, but going for a 34-year-old would be a real departure from the usual approach. I can’t see Nugent signing at all, but as with most things, you can never fully rule it out – especially with fans speculation about his social media activity.