Preston have been linked with a whole host of strikers in recent times, and missed out on a number of them too.
The likes of Keiffer Moore and Adam Armstrong slipped through the net in 2018, and it may well be that another striker could have made the move to Deepdale that summer.
Jonathan Walters has retired now, hanging up his boots back in March 2019 after a battle with an Achilles injury, which saw him make just three appearances on loan at Ipswich Town last season.
Now, Walters has praised Preston boss Alex Neil, but has also dropped a hint that he nearly joined North End – mostly likely in the summer of 2018.
Walters told BBC Radio Five Live that he rates Neil so highly as a manager, backing him to do ‘real good things’ in his managerial career whilst claiming that former Ireland teammate Robbie Brady loved him at Norwich City.
The 36-year-old did though add that he nearly joined him at two of his former clubs, having played alongside the Scot at Barnsley way back in the 2003-04 season, with their relationship still seemingly strong.
“I played with Alex at Barnsley, on loan there,” said Walters. “I nearly joined him at two clubs he’s been at, and every time I’ve played against his team, it’s been one of the most difficult games, the way he sets them up, the way they play. His teams are so difficult to play against, and Robbie Brady had him at Norwich – loved him, loved him as a man-manager, loved how he did it, did everything with him. He’s a young manager and you can see him going on to do real good things,” he added.
The reason we’re guessing he’s referring to Preston is that Neil has only managed three clubs – Hamilton Academical, Norwich and Preston. Hamilton have never the finances to support a move for a player like Walters, who spent a big chunk of his career in the Premier League.
Add in that the Daily Mail claimed in 2018 that Preston wanted to take Walters on loan from Burnley, and that Neil launched a £1.5million bid for Walters whilst at Norwich in 2015 (BBC), and it all adds up that Preston and Norwich are the two clubs he is referring to – but given those injury woes last season, maybe North End didn’t miss out too much.