Seemingly out of nowhere, Preston are being linked with a stunning, big-name signing.

It’s been quiet for weeks at Deepdale, even after Callum Robinson’s move to Sheffield United. A winger to replace Robinson is clearly needed, but there have been few rumours of late.

And then, a rumour nobody could have predicted. The Herald in Scotland claimed on Friday evening that North End are – remarkably – weighing up a £2.5million deal for Celtic winger Scott Sinclair.

The LEP confirmed part of the story, noting that Preston have indeed asked about Sinclair, but only on loan. Celtic have rebuffed that move, but would sell for £2.5million – which is beyond North End.

So, let’s dig into what’s real and what isn’t here. First things first, we learned on Friday that North End are interested in Sinclair, but it was described to us as a ‘long shot’.

Scott Sinclair of Celtic celebrates scoring. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

As for The Herald’s claim about a £2.5million move, one North End fan had posted such information on Twitter a few hours earlier – but we can’t really call that reputable by any stretch.

It’s no great surprise that Preston are put off by the numbers involved, especially with Sinclair’s wages too. Yet having recently had a one-year option in his contract activated, Sinclair is under contract for another year. That means Celtic would hardly be willing to loan him out, as they’d only end up losing him for free next summer.

A permanent deal – as exciting as it would be – just seems beyond North End. That is, unless somebody at Deepdale has stolen Trevor Hemmings’ bank account details.

The move would have an Aiden McGeady feel to it, and not just because they’re both wingers who have starred in the famous green and white hoops of Celtic. Rather, extremely talented wingers who have faded a little of late, but could still bring outstanding ability in their 30s.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – FEBRUARY 22: Scott Sinclair and Helen Flanagan. (Photo by Mark Robert Milan/GC Images)

Sadly, it seems like the numbers just don’t add up with this one. A deal really would be the type to put bums on seats at Deepdale, and a major signal of intent that we’ve been looking for. Yet with a club-record fee needed, and Sinclair likely to command club-record wages too, North End’s may be left hoping that Sinclair’s wife – actress Helen Flanagan – ends up pushing for a move back to her roots in the North West.

That seems like hope beyond hope, and the cynic in me is questioning the move anyway. North End know that fans are desperate for a big signing, but nothing has been doing of late. Now, a move for a big name in Sinclair suddenly materialises? You hate to say it, but it almost seems like a move that Preston would point to and simply say that they tried, but couldn’t do the deal when they never really had a chance.

Hopefully something can be worked out. Sinclair may be in his 30’s, but 60 goals in 153 Celtic appearances sums up his quality. He’s quick and direct, he can certainly score goals, and could provide the magic North End need.

It’s a situation to keep an eye on, but the finances may just be beyond Preston here.

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