Eight in, eight out: Preston North End's squad has been given a winter revamp

A frantic last day of deals meant the busiest winter transfer window yet for Preston North End.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 8:00 am

Six deals - three in and three out - were done yesterday ahead of the 11pm deadline.

The last of those was the loan signing of Everton winger Anthony Gordon, the biggest deal of the lot being Ben Davies' £1.6m sale to Premier League title holders Liverpool.

Monday's business started off with Josh Earl's loan move to Burton Albion being announced.

Until late in the afternoon, they were waiting for word from Merseyside of Davies' dream move to Anfield.

In the meantime, centre-back pair Liam Lindsay and Sepp van den Berg were at Euxton to complete the formalities of their loan moves to PNE.

Lindsay's switch from Stoke City was revealed first, then came the announcement that Davies had joined Liverpool, signing a long-tern contract.

Van den Berg's arrival was part of the Davies deal, the 19-year-old Dutchman joining from the Reds for the remainder of the season.

Anthony Gordon has been signed by Preston North End on loan from Everton Pic courtesy of PNE

North End then parted company with David Nugent, the striker joining Tranmere Rovers on loan and bringing his second spell at Deepdale to a conclusion - he's out of contract in the summer.

Three-quarters of an hour after the deadline, PNE announced the loan capture of Gordon.

The paperwork had gone in on time, the delay in going public due to Everton getting the signing of former North End loanee Josh King over the line from Bournemouth.

Gordon's move hinged on the Toffees securing King, so there was a sigh of relief when that happened.

Sepp van den Berg has joined PNE from Liverpool as part of the deal which took Ben Davies to Anfield

In total in the window, North End brought in eight players and the same number went out of the club.

Ben Whiteman was their one permanent signing, with him joined in the Euxton arrivals lounge by loanees Jayson Molumby, Daniel Iversen, Ched Evans, Greg Cunningham, Lindsay, van den Berg and Gordon.

Earlier in the window, Josh Harrop (Ipswich), Jayden Stockley (Charlton) and Ethan Walker (Carlisle) went out on loan.

Last Friday, Ben Pearson moved to Bournemouth and Darnell Fisher signed for Middlesbrough, both for undisclosed fees.

Davies, who like Pearson and Fisher, was in the final stages of his contract, had been on the verge of signing a pre-contract deal with Celtic to join them in the summer on a Bosman.

In fact, he was due to meet up with his agent to sign that Celtic deal on Sunday when Liverpool made their interest officially known.

An obvious issue for North End going forward is the amount of loan players now on the books.

They have seven and only five can feature in a matchday squad.

There is talk of turning a couple of loans into permanent transfers which can be done at any time - it is not governed by the constraints of the transfer window.

Gordon's signing has the potential to be an exciting one, the 19-year-old brought in to add creativity at the top end of the pitch.

He played against PNE in their pre-season friendly at Goodison Park in September, with North End boss Alex Neil having been tracking him since 2019.

Neil told North End's official website: "Peter Ridsdale and I were at a game last pre-season, between Wigan Athletic and Everton and Anthony played wide off the left that day and I thought he was the best player on the pitch.

“Since that day, I have really kept track of his progress and I think he is at a stage now where he is ready for first team football and, hopefully, we can give him some of those experiences and he can bring some of that quality he has got.”

Neil added: "We needed to make sure we brought another attacking option in and I think Anthony, who has been involved in most of Everton’s games this season, has huge potential and he is different to the other type of lads we have as well.

“What we have got is a lot of guys who want to run, but I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as dribblers.

"Whereas Anthony wants to take the ball, he wants to get at people, he wants to try and take them on and be creative in the final third. That type of player is what we have needed.”

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