Transfer gossip: Preston North End in battle with Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers for Chelsea defender

Chelsea's Alfie Gilchrist in FA Cup action against Preston North End at Stamford Bridge earlier this seasonChelsea's Alfie Gilchrist in FA Cup action against Preston North End at Stamford Bridge earlier this season
Chelsea's Alfie Gilchrist in FA Cup action against Preston North End at Stamford Bridge earlier this season | Getty Images
Alfie Gilchrist is a player PNE are reportedly keeping tabs on this summer

Preston North End are supposedly tracking Chelsea youngster Alfie Gilchrist heading into this summer’s transfer window.

According to reports, the defender is of interest to Lilywhites boss Ryan Lowe as he looks to improve his squad for next season’s Championship campaign.

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A loan move for the 20-year-old, who can operate at both centre-back and right-back, has been mooted. But North End aren’t the only ones apparently keen, with Blackburn Rovers and Leeds also admirers of the Londoner. Millwall and Swansea have also been previously linked with Gilchrist, who has made 17 senior appearances for the Premier League outfit.

One of those came against PNE in this season’s FA Cup, with the defender starting the third-round game at Stamford Bridge that resulted in a 4-0 win for the hosts. He was substituted on 61 minutes and replaced by Thiago Silva as Chelsea ran out comfortable winners in the end.

Gilchrist also made 11 Premier League appearances this season for the star-studded Blues, which emphasises his talent and the high-regard he’s held at at SW6.

Regular football at Championship level is deemed the natural next step in his career path, and with Chelsea reportedly open to allowing the player leave to gain that experience, clubs are supposedly on alert as they weigh up moves.

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Preston are said to be one of those sides as Lowe & Co look to improve on last season’s 10th-placed finish. Peter Ridsdale has admitted a busy summer of transfer activity is on the cards at Deepdale this summer. Could Gilchrist be one of those new arrivals?

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