Dave Seddon’s PNE Pressview

Preston North End's Greg Cunningham
Preston North End's Greg Cunningham
Share this article
0
Have your say

It has been a busy transfer window, at least in terms of gossip, from Preston North End’s point of view and I won’t be sorry to see it shut next Tuesday night.

In terms of PNE players being linked with interest from other clubs, has there been a window where things have been as intense at this?

Over recent years, there has tended to be one player catching the eye but rarely on the scale we have seen in the last few weeks.

Simon Grayson revealed on Thursday that bids for ‘three or four’ players had been rejected this month.

He was talking regular first-teamers, that being in addition to the interest shown in some of those on the fringes of the squad.

We knew that Ipswich were keen on Jordan Hugill, keen enough in fact to bid first £1.5m and then £2m in the last few days.

The others? You could take an educated guess at Greg Cunningham, Callum Robinson and maybe Daniel Johnson?

I might be hopelessly wrong with those three but they would spring to mind as headline performers.

Had Ben Pearson not signed a new contract at the end of December, he would have been top of my guesses.

Perhaps he was subject of some interest, his displays since the autumn certain to have impressed watching scouts.

We can of course surmise that Bailey Wright had been tracked long before the turn of the year by Bristol City, hence his move to Ashton Gate being completed before the first week of 2017 was through.

So Wright – with the end of his contract in sight – sold and up to four others subject of strong interest, shows to me that North End have been putting together a squad of quality and promise.

Other clubs’ cast-offs, Premier League reserves and some taken from divisions below, have been moulded into a squad challenging in the Championship’s top-half and eyeing a play-off push.

Interest from elsewhere is bound to come when a side performs consistently well, maybe even above itself.

So perhaps Grayson and those above him had been bracing themselves for the approaches of the last month and were prepared.

I do hope that the status quo remains, that the ‘not for sale’ sign stays firmly rooted in the ground until the clock ticks past 11pm on Tuesday.

By all means, those on the edges of the current plans be allowed loan moves to get game time.

But for the core of the squad to be together going into February, will gladden the hearts of the North End faithful.

Every player has his price but hopefully no tipping point is reached in terms of cash bids.

The January window is a strange beast, designed to work the football industry into a 31-day frenzy of gossip, rumour, panic, excitement and at times, total and utter stupidity.

It can be a saviour for some clubs if the right type of business is done – players bought to help stave off the threat of relegation or push for better at the other end of a division.

However, all too often we see common sense leave the building in its droves.

Let’s have it right, there have been some very average players on the move in the Premier League for money which makes the eyes water.

In the Championship, there have been some half decent players transferred but on wages which are hard to believe.

I heard of one move where a player’s salary jumped by more than £15,000 a week, that a deal where there was only one club seriously in for him – talk about bidding against yourself.

I’m not a massive fan of the transfer window system, I saw little wrong with how clubs used to be able to do business up until the final Thursday in March.

Back in the day, if a club needed to raise some cash, they had the freedom to sell a player whatever the time of the season.

It encourages stockpiling of players, something which has been done in the Premier League now spreading down to the Football League by reason of the emergency loan window being abolished.

Not having that extra time to loan players has robbed us football writers of a line.

‘Clubs can start trading again next week when the loan window opens....’ would appear in newspapers and on websites the morning after the close of the main window.

But no more can we write that every September and February.

The deadline this window falls on the day when there is a busy programme of games in the Premier League and Championship.

So there will either be a mad dash to get deals done between 9.30pm and 11pm, or most of the excitement will come earlier in the day or on Monday.

When Jim White and his yellow tie are reaching fever pitch on Tuesday night, I will be on the M4 heading home from Preston’s clash with Cardiff City.

Jim and his team have over the years hoodwinked some folk into believing that only transfers done in the last few hours of the window are the real deal.

The other 30 days seem to get lost in a haze of bright yellow.