Preston North End looking to freshen up their squad in the January transfer window

Preston North End plan to give their squad a spruce up in January irrespective of what happens to the four key players who are nearing the end of their contracts.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 8:00 am

A right-sided centre-half to replace the injured Patrick Bauer is high on the list.

They could also move to add more creativity in midfield when the window opens on January 2.

Although North End have a full 25-man squad – that limit was put on Championship clubs for this season – there is wriggle room.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil

Bauer is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.

So he can be removed from the 25-man roster for the remainder of the campaign.

It might be that PNE look to offload a couple of fringe players to free up room too.

At the moment North End are thought to be focusing on the domestic market rather than looking abroad.

Alan Browne is one of the North End players approaching the end of their contracts

That is due to Brexit, with players coming from the EU now requiring a work permit, as those from outside the EU have previously needed.

Players moving to this country will need to meet a points-based criteria.

Whether North End will need to do any work with the futures of Ben Pearson, Ben Davies, Daniel Johnson and Alan Browne in mind, remains to be seen.

They have been offered new contracts but as things stand, there has been no indication from them that they will accept.

The quartet’s current deals run until June 30, after which they would be able to leave on Bosmans.

Should they wish to do so, pre-contract agreements can be struck with clubs in other countries from January which would see them move in the summer.

The option would of course be there for North End to sell in January if the contract impasse continues with any of the players.

That depends on offers coming in, those thin on the ground previously.

Bournemouth had a £3m bid for Davies turned down over the summer, that the one solid offer for the centre-half .

There was reported interest from Sheffield United and Celtic but no bids.

On the eve of the season Rangers bid £1.5m for Johnson, an offer which was rejected. There was no follow-up bid from the Ibrox outfit.

While the focus has been on the ‘big four’, there are others soon to be entering the last six months of their deals.

Darnell Fisher is one of them and despite being a first-team regular, has yet to be offered terms.

A new deal is on the table for Paul Huntington which would take his stay into a ninth season.

Paul Gallagher, Billy Bodin and Louis Moult all see their deals run out in June 2021.

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