Report: Ten Hag to decide on Zidane Iqbal loan after Preston training stint
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Report: Ten Hag to decide on Zidane Iqbal loan after Preston training stint

Preston have signed Alvaro Fernandez from Manchester United and the Red Devils are nearing a decision on another North End target in Zidane Iqbal.

United and Preston announce Fernandez’s move to Deepdale on Tuesday with the Spaniard penning a season-long loan deal at Deepdale.

The Spaniard represents an exciting addition for Preston and should produce an entertaining with Robbie Brady at left wing back this season.

Fernandez continues the long tradition of Manchester United players joining Preston on loan; David Beckham, Danny Welbeck and Sam Johnstone spring to mind.

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As if one United loanee isn’t positive enough for North End, there has also been interest in another.

United midfielder Zidane Iqbal spent time training with Preston towards the end of last season, arriving in a work experience capacity.

We understand Iqbal was joined in that arrangement by another Manchester United talent, a fellow midfielder.

United tend to do this; they send two young talents to EFL clubs for experience in first-team training with the goal of aiding their development.

Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town have also utilised such agreements in recent times and Iqbal’s presence caused some excitement.

The Iraq international, 19, has been coming up through the United ranks and has impressed new boss Erik ten Hag during pre-season this summer.

North End were initially told that Iqbal wouldn’t be available for loan until January at the earliest, but that could change.

The Times claim that Ten Hag will meet with Darren Fletcher this week to decide whether to loan Iqbal out or keep him at Old Trafford.

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Performances on the pitch and attitude off it have put Iqbal – as well as Charlie Savage – into senior reckoning under Ten Hag and they may well be kept rather than loaned out.

Would Preston still be keen on Iqbal?

When a talent of that calibre becomes available on loan, you imagine that Preston will be keen and relations with United seem to be strong again.

It’s hard to see where Iqbal would fit in now though. A deal as competition for Daniel Johnson would have made sense, but Preston have since signed Ben Woodburn.

Add in Ryan Ledson, Ben Whiteman, Alan Browne and Ali McCann all vying for midfield spots in other roles and Iqbal may not receive the playing time United would want in any loan deal.

Iqbal looks set for a big future and if a loan to Preston doesn’t materialise, North End can at least claim to have played a very small part in his development.

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