New contract offers made to Preston North End’s ‘Big Four’

Preston North End have made new contract offers to their ‘big four’ players in a bid to keep them at Deepdale beyond this season.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th November 2020, 8:14 am
Alan Browne (left) battles for the ball with England's Harry Winks battle for the ball during the Republic of Ireland's 3-0 defeat at Wembley last week.

Alan Browne, Ben Davies, Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson have had fresh offers in the last couple of weeks.

Deepdale sources say the offers are ‘significant’ increases on their current terms.

The quartet are out of contract in June 2021, so the clock is ticking on reaching agreements.

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If any of them choose not to accept to the new offers, the January transfer window would be the last opportunity to try and get a fee for them.

All four have been with North End a significant length of time.

Davies joined the academy when at primary school and progressed through the youth system, while Browne signed as a teenager from Cork City in January 2014.

Johnson was a £50,000 recruit from Aston Villa in 2015, with Pearson signed for £300,000 from Manchester United in January 2016.

North End have renewed a number of contracts over the last few months but these four were always going to be the difficult ones to get across the line.

Browne’s focus just at the moment is on self-isolating after he tested positive for Covid-19 during international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish squad were tested last Thursday morning ahead of the 3-0 defeat against England at Wembley.

It was on Friday morning that Browne’s test came back as positive and he has to isolate for 10 days.

A couple of days earlier, his former Preston team-mate Callum Robinson had returned a positive test.

The Republic of Ireland FA arranged for Browne’s return to Lancashire. He will miss Saturday’s Deepdale clash with Sheffield Wednesday but should be back to face Blackburn a week tomorrow.

Johnson is another PNE player away on international duty at the moment.

He made his Jamaica debut in a 3-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Saturday.

The midfielder played an hour of the friendly game and is set to feature again when the countries meet again at the same venue tomorrow.

Jamaica had wanted to have Johnson in their squad for quite a while.

But travel arrangements previously dissuaded the midfielder from committing to the ‘Reggae Boyz’.

North End will have Johnson back on Thursday to begin the build-up to the Sheffield Wednesday game.

Emil Riis hasn’t gone away with Denmark’s Under-21s due to quarantine rules involving journeys between Denmark and the UK.