Preston North End manager Alex Neil insists star defender Ben Davies has told him nothing about a potential switch to Celtic, speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post.
While reports linking a towering centre-back with the Glasgow giants have been creating plenty of headlines north of the border, it seems Davies’ future isn’t a regular topic of conversation in the Deepdale dressing room.
Because, with just four days left before Monday’s transfer deadline, Neil doesn’t sound like a man preparing to lose one of his key players.
“I haven’t really heard anything (about a move to Celtic) apart from what was in the paper. Ben hasn’t said a word to me about it. He has been good all the way through. This has only just appeared,” said the former Hamilton boss.
“As far as I’m aware from the discussions I’ve had before with Ben, he has so far committed to being here to at least the end of the season.
“That has been the discussion I’ve had to this point. Naturally that is subject to change but I’ve not been made aware of any change.”
Neil admits Davies isn’t guaranteed to stay, however, and Celtic suddenly have a few more pennies to spend after selling Jeremie Frimpong to Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of about £11 million.
That’s far less than the £10 million Preston were demanding in the summer for the classy, commanding central defender. But with Davies’ contract expiring at the end of this season, their hands are tied.
The 25-year-old, who averages 4.2 clearances per game, will be tasked with reinforcing a porous Celtic back line that has spent much of the season looking incapable of dealing with simple set pieces.
Davies should, in theory, represent an upgrade on the struggling Shane Duffy, while potentially allowing Kristoffer Ajer to remain in the right-back spot vacated by Frimpong.