Bit of a surprise this one, but here we go.

The Sun’s Alan Nixon has today claimed that North End want to bring back Brandon Barker from Manchester City. Allegedly viewed as a replacement for Callum Robinson, Barker is wanted back on loan.

Robinson joined Sheffield United in an £8million deal on Friday, and North End must now find a replacement. With money to spend, fans had been hoping for a big splash in the transfer market.

Many of us will have known how unlikely that was, and it now seems a loan is wanted instead. Preston’s strong links to City didn’t land us Aro Muric, but may just get Barker back to Deepdale.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at North End, starting just six games. Barker did pick up two assists, but injuries kept hampering his progress over the course of the campaign.

Barker returned to Manchester City at the end of the season, but inside the final year of his deal at the Etihad Stadium, looks set to move on again.

Preston North End’s Brandon Barker. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

North End appear to be positioning themselves to bring Barker back to the club, in a loan move which may just facilitate getting Josh Ginnelly out on loan for first-team football.

Barker can be an exciting player on his day. He’s quick and direct, he’s skilful and helped turn a couple of games in North End’s favour last season.

The issue, personally speaking, is reliability and productivity. Can we rely on Barker to play even half of the games across a full season? Can we rely on Barker to produce goals and assists in the final third?

If he’s brought back, Alex Neil and co will seemingly believe he can kick on again. His contract situation at City means he has a great chance at a permanent move if he does arrive, but there will be plenty of doubters after his unspectacular loan spell.

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