7 Preston North End transfer predictions for summer window - exits, transfer fees and priorities

Liam Millar celebrates scoring Preston North End's winner Liam Millar celebrates scoring Preston North End's winner
Liam Millar celebrates scoring Preston North End's winner | Rob Newell - Camera Sport
The summer transfer window officially opens on June 14 - but how will things play out for Preston North End? We give our guess, here...

Defensive additions

It’s an obvious area of the team for Preston North End to strengthen, with Greg Cunningham released and Patrick Bauer now surplus to requirements for Ryan Lowe. It has been Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes back there for a while now. Jack Whatmough was brought in last summer and the back line could do with a freshen up, to boost competition. Time will tell whether Kian Best can force his way in at left centre-back, but you’d fully expect PNE to bring in a central defender, or two, in this window. Ideally, pace and passing range would be strong traits in any new recruits.

No return for Liam Millar

It was an enjoyable loan spell for all parties and the Canada international did seem to thoroughly enjoy his time at Deepdale. But, it’s hard to picture Millar heading back to North End now. Millar will be seeking a permanent exit from FC Basel, where he has one year left on his deal. His 10 goal contributions and obvious wide threat for Preston has led to plenty of clubs being linked - most of whom will have deeper pockets than PNE. No buy option was inserted in his loan agreement last season. There is also the fact of Millar being a winger by trade and not a wing-back.

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New club captain needed

You have to envisage Alan Browne leaving, now. The Irishman’s saga has dragged on for several months and there has been no resolution. He has spent the last decade at Deepdale and may be ready for a change, like Daniel Johnson was last summer. Browne was free to speak to English clubs on June 1st. Of course, he could still decide he wants to stay and go for that all-time appearance record. But, there’s been a lot of talk over the last few months PNE’s ‘deadline’ for a decision seemingly failed. Browne is fully entitled to be doing what he is - it’d just be interesting to see how he and Preston move forward should he now opt to stick around.

Recruits out wide

It’s a necessity, isn’t it? Alvaro Fernandez is the best Preston have done with regards to signing a wing-back during Ryan Lowe’s tenure. Calvin Ramsay looked like a positive addition at the time, but it didn’t work out. Of course, Brad Potts has competed well down the right flank, but like any player the number 44 needs competition. It would be good for North End to have a wide player of a different mould to Potts - trickier and quicker - but still with his athleticism. On the opposite flank, a first choice option - if North End are going to continue with that system - is required. Robbie Brady will have a part to play, but it is just not his forte to fly up and down for 90 minutes.

Transfer fees spent

North End haven’t been shy of spending money in recent years, in fairness. They paid a fee for Freddie Woodman, then spent decent cash to land Milutin Osmajic and Mads Frokjaer last summer. Going back, seven figures fees brought Ben Whiteman, Emil Riis and Ali McCann to the club. With the Covid-season dropping off the books, North End - according to director Peter Ridsdale - have quite a lot of scope to recruit this window. The club’s recruitment was varied last summer and you’d expect a repeat of that. There was also the Tom Cannon situation, where PNE insisted they tabled a huge bid. So, another one or two signings for £1million+ each would not come as a great surprise.

Wheeling and dealing

It won’t be easy but Lowe, on the final day of the season at West Brom, said he’ll be open to shifting players on. The verdict was that he may have taken some squad members as far as he can and that it’s time to therefore go separate ways. It remains to be seen who exactly falls under that category, but interest and bids will be required to move any contracted players out - unless a swap deal can be arranged. Bauer’s situation is obviously far from ideal and it will be a challenge for North End to sort that out. A loan move for the German may end up being the solution.

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Surprise addition

The Preston boss suggested he may still look to add to his front line. As things stand, Lowe has four strikers in his first team squad - while Ched Evans has been offered a player/coach deal too. The striking department is not standing out as a priority, but we know Lowe loves a goal scoring centre-forward and if he thinks there’s one out there available, he could well go for it. There is no point stockpiling front men, so if that did materialise then exploring a loan move for Layton Stewart could make sense. Emil Riis is also going to enter the final year of his contract, so Preston will soon have a sign or sell scenario on their hands, with the Dane.

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