PNE knock back Hugill and Robinson bids as Arsenal youngster arrives

Stephy Mavididi
Stephy Mavididi

Preston bolstered their forward line last night with the loan signing of Arsenal’s highly-rated striker Stephy Mavididi and at the same time put the block on bids for two of their front men.

Mavididi, 19, joined North End on a season’s loan from the Gunners, with PNE fans set to get their first look at him in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie at Accrington Stanley.

It is understood that offers came in yesterday for Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson, both of which were rejected.

The bid for last season’s top scorer Hugill was believed to have been an improved one from Birmingham City.

Last month they had a £2.5m offer rejected.

Derby were in touch about Robinson but the figure they had in mind fell short of PNE’s valuation.

The market value of players in the Championship has gone through the roof this summer, especially for attackers.

With that in mind, it seems that North End will play hard ball over interest in any of their leading players.

PNE prefer to conduct their business in private but Birmingham’s interest in Hugill last month and now that of Derby in Robinson, came into the public domain through the national media.

Mavididi’s loan deal was completed yesterday evening, with him given the No.27 shirt.

The teenager is held in the highest regard by Arsenal who want him to get experience in the Championship under his belt.

He had a loan spell with Charlton earlier in the year but a hamstring injury cut his stay at The Valley short.

During his stay with the Addicks, Mavididi was a team-mate of Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd who was also there on loan.

He can play as a striker or in a wider role, that versatility a big appeal Alex Neil who will oversee his first league game in charge of North End today against Sheffield Wednesday.

Neil said: “I think he’ll bring pace and a directness from either a wider area or a central nine.

“He’s one of the players that can fluctuate between any of the front four – he can play on either flank, he’s played as a 10, he’s played as a nine.

“The lad has got real pace and power and I think he’ll be a real top player at some stage.

“We want to try and help the development of that for our benefit and for his.

“I think it’ll make some good business – he’s a perfect fit for us certainly in terms of attributes that we like to have in the team.”

Mavididi, who has played for England at Under 17s, 18 and 19 level, is not eligible to play today as all deals now need to be done before noon the day before a game.

He will train with his new team-mates tomorrow ahead of the Accrington trip.