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North End interested in Manchester City playmaker Luka Ilic

Last week, we reported that Preston hold an interest in Manchester City goalkeeper Aro Muric.

North End’s links to City appear to be decent, having landed Brandon Barker and Lukas Nmecha on loan back in August. Muric would be a continuation of that, but could we yet see more?

We’ve heard for a few weeks now that North End have been looking for another number 10. A player with technical ability, who can unpick defences and bring a little spark to the Preston attack.

There have been murmurings over the weekend that another City talent – Luka Ilic – is on the radar. We now understand that the 19-year-old is indeed on the North End wanted list this summer.

Luka Ilic during his time at NAC Breda. (Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Ilic, 19, made his name with Red Star Belgrade in his native Serbia, before being sold to City in 2017. Pep Guardiola’s men loaned him straight back to Red Star, where he notched two goals and two assists.

Last season, the playmaker went out to NAC Breda, a partner club of City. Ilic picked up two goals and three assists, but injury problems were an issue. He missed 15 games with a four-month injury lay-off, curtailing his impact.

Primarily a number 10, Ilic can also play out wide. That seems to be what Alex Neil is looking for, especially having missed out on Bersant Celina – another City talent – last summer.

He can go past a man, he’s got decent size and quickness, and a great left foot. The videos below show every goal or assist Ilic recorded this season, demonstrating some of those qualities.

We also spoke to BeNeFoot‘s Michiel Jongsma, who told us that Ilic had some injury problems, and struggled coping with the physicality at times. Ilic was described as not quite at Mason Mount’s level when at Vitessse, and wouldn’t be a great signing nor a poor one.

Ilic is about to turn 20, and North End will hope that he can provide some creativity if he does arrive. Landing both Muric and Ilic would suggest that Preston are developing stronger and stronger ties with City, but other clubs will no doubt be keen on both, meaning we’ll have to see whether they arrive at Deepdale.

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