Preston North End: January transfer window overview and what the summer could bring

After two frantic transfer windows in 2021, the first one of 2022 was never going to be on the same scale for Preston North End.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 9:32 am

This time last year, PNE were drawing breath after eight deals in and eight out of Deepdale.

In August, Ali McCann's £1.2m transfer from St Johnstone was registered with just five seconds to go, that after Josh Murphy's loan went through with about 15 minutes to spare.

North End boss Ryan Lowe has said in the build-up to the opening of this January's window that it wouldn't be a mad one.

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Cameron Archer scores on his Preston North End debut against West Bromwich Albion

No sooner had he taken the job on December 7 then questions started getting fired at him as to who he wanted to bring in - that only to be expected when a new manager was in town.

He was always going to do some recruitment but nothing on the scale on last year's windows.

Lowe inherited a bloated squad in terms of numbers and the wage bill.

For inbound business to be done, players needed to go out for their own good, not just financially.

New Preston defender Bambo Diaby in action for his former club Barnsley against Derby County

Hence the numbers leaving in the last couple of weeks greatly exceeded the two who came in.

Cameron Archer was clearly a long-term target of Lowe, dating back to when he was in charge at Plymouth Argyle.

Strikers on the fringes of Premier League clubs' first-teams and regulars in the Under-23s are frequent targets for Championship and League One clubs.

Several clubs tried to get Archer and it was North End who landed the 20-year-old.

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe

Lowe's friendship with Villa manager Steven Gerrard played a part but PNE still had to come up with a contribution to his wages and show that they really wanted him.

The other newcomer to the Preston squad in January was Bambo Diaby.

Newcomer might be stretching a point, with the sturdy defender having had a peg in the dressing room since November.

Diaby started training with PNE in November as the end of a two-year anti-doing ban came into view.

The Senegal-born player, raised in Spain, whose career had taken him to Italy, Belgium and South Yorkshire, came to Preston to try and earn a contract.

He got one and signed it on transfer deadline day, only until the end of the season but with the incentive to earn a longer-term deal if he does well.

Players went out to finance the deals for Archer and Diaby.

Jordan Storey's loan move to Sheffield Wednesday brought in a sizeable contribution to his wages from the Owls.

The defender was a surprise outgoing in the sense that only quite recently had a 35-game run in the Preston first-team ended.

Josh Harrop went to Fleetwood, Jamie Thomas to Halifax, Adam O'Reilly over the water to St Patrick's Athletic.

The savings made on their salaries aren't huge but combined together, freed-up space on the wage bill.

There was Connor Wickham's exit too when his four-month contract ended.

Some of the young lads have gone out, Jack Baxter's loan at Radcliffe was extended in January, having been there from the autumn.

Jacob Holland-Wilkinson went to Bamber Bridge, Lewis Coulton to Warrington Town and latterly Joe Rodwell-Grant to Lancaster City.

They've gone to get regular senior football, Rodwell-Grant having had a taste of the first-team at the start of the season.

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Preston North End have completed their incoming January transfer window business

During the transfer window and until Friday, they have been able to change that list on a game-by-game basis.

With regards other players going out, there was actually little interest.

Sean Maguire was one who Cardiff City asked about but only during the course of a phone call between the clubs on a non-football matter.

Maguire is out with an ankle injury at the moment so it was an enquiry made without much research.

Although Lowe wasn't busy in terms of incomings in January, it is a fair bet he will be very active in the summer months.

There is real scope then to recruit and shape the squad to his liking.

He's had a good look at what he inherited over the last two months and now has a longer period to go in depth.

In the summer there will be players reaching the end of their contracts, loanees returning to their parent clubs - it might be that some of them are targets to be brought back.

By the end of August, expect Lowe to have put his mark on the PNE squad.

He's already vowed to 'recruit smart' and get players who he think will benefit the club moving forward.