It always seemed a little unlikely, but Preston won’t be signing Luca Connell this summer.

Back in May, the Daily Mail reported that North End were keen on Connell. Major clubs were claimed to be in the race too; Norwich City, Southampton and even Rangers were interested.

Connell had been bogged down in a contract wrangle with Bolton, making his move even more complicated. Preston may well have held slim hopes of signing Connell, but they’re over now.

Celtic confirmed over the weekend that they’ve landed Connell, handing him a four-year deal. The 18-year-old cost just £350,000 in compensation (Daily Mail), with the Bhoys actually paying more than they were required to.

Luca Connell on Ireland international duty. (Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Given the other clubs in the mix, North End signing Connell always seemed a little unlikely. We did have a few selling points; proximity to Bolton, and a chance at first-team football.

There’s no great shame in losing out to Celtic. Some may criticise Scottish football, but the lure of Celtic is massive – especially for a player just relegated to League One.

They have a huge fanbase, European football, title aspirations, one of the world’s biggest derbies and sit in a great city. It’s an appealing move for many players, and Connell unsurprisingly grasped that chance.

All of that means Preston never really stood a chance at signing Connell, who may now end up being groomed to become Scott Brown’s heir at Parkhead – and for North End, it’s back to the drawing board for potential midfield reinforcements.

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