As the final days of the January transfer tick down, clubs are scrambling to get some last minute deals over the line. Celtic are no different after being linked to several new potential signings this month.
Both incomings and outgoings have been rumoured to take place, but one story of interest which has come to fruition is the Hoops’ keenness on Ben Davies. The Preston North End defender has attracted a lot of attention amid his contract expiry in the summer, but it’s Celtic who look to have beaten the rest to the punch.
According to 90min, Davies has agreed pre-contract terms with the Glaswegians, which will see him move on a free transfer at the end of the season. The Bhoys have been struggling defensively this campaign so signing a new centre-back simply had to be a priority for them, particularly with the mounting interest in Kristoffer Ajer from rival clubs.
It’s no secret that the reigning Scottish Premiership champions are having a nightmarish season. Not only do they trail by a whopping 23 points to their Glasgow rivals, but they were handed an early exit from their Europa League run. The Hoops finished bottom of the pile in their group and shipped the joint-highest amount of goals in the group stages.
Neil Lennon has also struggled with an injury-ridden squad. Christopher Jullien has missed a total of 29 matches for Celtic this season due to respective back and knee injuries, according to Transfermarkt.
Shane Duffy has equally been disappointing, but due to his lacklustre performances on the pitch. Celtic were recently said to be considering ending his loan move from Brighton early after not quite cutting the mustard in Scotland.
As well as delivering a quality defender, Lawwell has killed two birds with one stone in terms of protecting the club’s finances, signing Davies on a pre-contract basis which means he arrives at Parkhead for nothing. Sky Sports recently claimed that Preston were looking for £2million to £2.5million for the defender’s services, but Celtic have managed to avoid paying anything at all for the centre-half.
The Hoops will expect the 6 foot defender to arrive at Parkhead in the summer and he will be a welcome recruit to the team. According to WhoScored’s comparison tool, Davies currently averages more clearances and interceptions per match than Jullien, Duffy and Ajer. He will be looking to wiggle his way into the starting lineup once he arrives.
Knowing Celtic will be looking to bounce back and win silverware next season, Davies will undoubtedly be rubbing his hands together as he eyes whose spot he could usurp in the current Lennon set-up. Lawwell will undoubtedly be pleased that he has a tried-and-tested defender on the way who didn’t cost a single penny.