One key deal Preston North End must strike this summer after previous £7.5m interest

PNE celebrate PNE celebrate
PNE celebrate
The PNE man has been at Deepdale since October 2020

Another busy summer is in store for Preston North End, after a very quiet January window.

Incomings are anticipated at Deepdale and manager Ryan Lowe has already discussed shifting players, under contract, on this summer. The retained list is expected to arrive this weekend, which will paint a clearer picture of how North End’s squad looks - ahead of the transfer window opening in mid-June.

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And, while all the attention will be on who Preston could recruit, there is one player already in the building who should have red ink around his name. Back in October 2021, PNE were proactive with Emil Riis - extending his deal until 2025, with the Dane initially tied down until 2024. The number 19 is one of the obvious assets within the North End squad.

After returning from that horror knee injury, Riis resembled a new striker - hungrier, stronger and deadlier than ever. Between February and March, he scored six goals in seven starts - providing three assists in the second half of the season, too. Admittedly, Preston’s disappointing end to the season was coupled with a barren run for Riis - who didn’t score in his final eight outings.

Perhaps that was to be expected, though, with all the talk about managing his workload after that 11-month absence. Preston, understandably - given his performances - flogged the centre-forward as much as they could. And he looked the real deal in plenty of those games, particularly against an in-form Coventry City - whose defenders he destroyed.

Back in February, Lowe said: “It’s huge to have him back. We’re just trying to mould him into a perfect striker. His hold up play is getting better and his runs in behind are better. He's always got that. We’ve all been waiting for Emil to come back. I’m pleased with his goal, for him and his team-mates, they’re all pleased for him.”

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Therefore, it surely will not be lost on PNE just how important it is to get the striker’s contract extended. Riis turns 26 in June and has proven to be an extremely dangerous centre-forward at Championship level - while his game has certainly been polished. His best years should still be ahead of him, which is exciting.

In 2022, Middlesbrough were said to have lodged a £7.5million bid for the player; last season he arguably looked a better player than he did back then. So, that is an indication of the talent Preston possess. Ideally, conversations with Riis would’ve already taken place. If not, then they are certainly an immediate priority - as is getting him to put pen-on-paper swiftly. And, if there’s any reluctance to do so, then exploring a sale is the route North End will need to take.

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