Dave Seddon’s pressview

David Healy
David Healy

Preston were pretty sharp off the mark with this summer’s transfer business, with five incoming deals done by June 21.

A sixth was always going to take longer, North End wanting a striker to top-off their recruitment.

Everyone wants strikers and real quality frontman don’t exactly grow on trees.

Hence PNE having to be patient in their search, the August 9 deadline creeping that bit closer.

It’s a targetman-type they seemingly want, someone along the lines of Jordan Hugill who could be back at Deepdale with West Ham this weekend.

Ideally, said striker would have a bit of know-how in his locker.

Maybe North End won’t go down the ‘punt’ route this time, wanting a bit more of the finished article.

Will they get their man? Time will tell and it might yet play out long into the closing stages of the window.

Should the forward line be bolstered, what would be interesting is how big a fee PNE pay.

Strikers tend to attract the bigger money because of the demand.

An often-asked question by some PNE fans is whether the Deepdale transfer record would get broken?

Some argue the fact that it has been in place since the end of December 2000 is a sign of a lack of ambition.

Others see it as a sign of sound business practice that North End haven’t paid over the odds.

It is David Healy who has the tag of being Preston’s most expensive outlay.

An initial £1.5m was paid to Manchester United for him 17-and-a-half years ago, with the potential to rise to £1.8m.

Whether the additional bits and pieces to take it up to £1.8m were paid before his somewhat undignified move to Leeds in 2004, I’m not sure.

The £1.5m eclipsed the previous £500,000 record fee – that paid out twice in the space of three years, first for Michael Appleton in 1997 and then Iain Anderson in July 2000.

So how has that fee stood the test of time at Deepdale?

The Healy record fee and that paid for Appleton and Anderson, came during the Baxi regime.

Decent-sized fees were paid in the era after that when Derek Shaw was at the helm but never quite in the Healy ballpark.

After Trevor Hemmings assumed ownership in 2010, the early years were about steadying the ship from a financial viewpoint.

As North End started to push in the right direction in League One and then in the Championship, fees paid out have started to rise.

One reason why the record has not been broken is the ability to sniff out some bargains.

Take Sean Maguire, the scorer of 10 goals last season and with who a great deal of expectancy rests this term.

He was snapped-up from Cork for around £130,000, that a bargain in anyone’s book.

Hugill was polished-up from a £25,000 rough-round -the-edges punt from Port Vale into a £9.5m sale to the Hammers.

The £50,000 which PNE paid to Aston Villa for Daniel Johnson was such a bargain that supporters sing about it.

About £300,000 went on Ben Pearson, Alan Browne cost a few quid from Cork, with decent fees – but not bank-breaking – spent last summer for Declan Rudd and Josh Harrop.

The finger pointed by some at Preston this summer concerns the fees gathered for Greg Cunningham and Hugill these last few months.

Should a chunk of that go on the striker they desire?

Some of it yet might but not the greater portion.

What is a big issue when paying out a decent-sized transfer fee is the wage which accompanies it.

Players moving for £2m, £3m, £4m, command a big salary – that is no secret.

The going rate is no doubt way above what North End pay their highest earner.

It might not financially cripple them to pay one player a huge amount but what happens when some of the others start making noises about being paid similar?

And what does it do for team spirit if one player is on mega-money and not hitting form?

Sometimes the fee is not the main issue, it can be paid in instalments.

Wages are a different beast, a commitment every month over the course of a contract.

Get that side of it wrong and it can lead to all sorts of problems.

If North End do break their transfer record, it will be for the right reasons, not to satisfy a status symbol.

On the playing front, it was good to see PNE win their first game outside of the UK for a decade or so when beating Cobh Ramblers 5-0 in Cork on Tuesday evening.

Hats off to those in a very decent-sized following who crossed the water to see Alex Neil’s men in action.

Probably the last time they played a game beyond these shores was the trip to the United States during Paul Simpson’s time in charge.

Going further back, who remembers when North End played in Ibiza in 2004?

Craig Brown led his side to the Balearics to play a local team and I think Sheffield Wednesday – answers on a postcard if you can recall.