Preston looked at a number of centre backs in the January window, and ended with two new options in the heart of defence.

North End wanted to land a loanee to cover for Patrick Bauer, and then had to look at left-footed options in case Ben Davies left.

Davies did leave on deadline day for Liverpool, in a deal that saw Sepp van den Berg arrive at Deepdale on loan until the end of the season.

Liam Lindsay also joined, arriving as the left-footed replacement for Davies having been frozen out at Stoke City.


Nottingham Forest v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship
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Other names were linked throughout January though, and one of them was Jarrad Branthwaite, who ended up at Blackburn Rovers instead.

The Daily Mail reported in January that Preston were keen to sign Branthwaite on loan, but ended up missing out as Rovers secured his signature.

As a left-footer, Branthwaite may have been lined up if Davies left early in the window, but the confusion over his future allowed Rovers to swoop in and sign the teenager.

Branthwaite didn’t particularly impress against Preston earlier this month, but it seems that he is attracting admiring glances from Premier League giants.

Everton Unveil New Signing Jarrad Branthwaite
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The Mail claim that Manchester City, Manchester United and even Liverpool are interested in signing Branthwaite at the end of the season having been impressed with his progress at Rovers.

The 18-year-old clearly has great qualities; he’s a huge presence at 6ft 5in tall, he’s left-footed and has huge potential, even if he is still a little raw at this stage in his development.

Everton won’t want to sell Branthwaite any time soon, but these huge links go to show what a talent Preston missed out on in Branthwaite, even if he would have only been on loan until the summer.

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