Alex Neil claims Preston looked at 72 strikers this summer

Preston North End finally signed a striker last Thursday, as Danish hitman Emil Riis arrived in a £1.2million deal from Randers.

The Lilywhites desperately needed to find a new goalscorer this summer, but budget restrictions were an understandable problem.

Preston don’t have the biggest budget at the best of times, never mind when a global pandemic saps resources and prevents fans from attending games.

RANDERS, DENMARK – JUNE 16: Emil Riis Jakobsen of Randers FC celebrating his 1-0 goal during the Danish 3F Superliga match between Randers FC and Hobro IK at Cepheus Park Randers on June 16, 2020 in Randers, Denmark. (Photo by Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images)

Fans had resigned themselves to a loan signing at best, but North End came up with a shock signing on Thursday night by landing Riis in a seven-figure deal.

He bagged 11 goals for Randers last season and has been playing for Denmark’s Under-21’s, whilst he fits Alex Neil’s bill as a physical striker at 6ft 3in tall and decent mobility.

Riis made his debut as a substitute in Sunday’s 4-2 win at Brentford, and will now hope to nail down a starting role at Deepdale.

AALBORG, DENMARK – SEPTEMBER 04: Yevgen Cheberko of Ukraine and Emil Riis Jakobsen of Denmark compete for the ball during the UEFA U21 EURO 2021 qual match between Denmark and Ukraine at Aalborg Stadion on September 4, 2020 in Aalborg, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

Now, boss Neil has told Lancs Live that Preston were looking at a staggering 72 strikers; there’s a chance this is hyperbole, but Neil usually lays things out pretty directly, and claims that North End were looking far and wide for attackers.

Neil added that he ‘made it clear’ to North End that the club had to look further afield rather than solely looking in the UK market, which ultimately resulted in Riis signing.

“We have looked at a lot of strikers,” said Nel. “The last time I checked we had looked at about 72 different forwards. It’s not easy for us to find guys because we’ve got very limited money to spend.”

“To try and get somebody that’s better than what we’ve got, you need to be extremely creative – we’ve always shopped domestically and I made it really clear to the club that we needed to broaden our horizons to give ourselves any chance of finding somebody who could fit the bill,” he added.

Preston also looked at AZ Alkmaar’s Ferdy Druijf and Seattle Sounders’ Jordan Morris, whilst we understand that Charlton Athletic’s Macauley Bonne, Stoke City’s Benik Afobe and Barnsley’s Cauley Woodrow were looked at closer to home.

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