Transfer talk does not worry North End boss Neil

Preston manager Alex Neil says he does not get concerned when his players are subject of transfer speculation in the media.

Monday, 28th May 2018, 12:30 pm
Stoke have been reported to be eyeing Ben Pearson

Neil believes such links are a sign of the quality he has in his squad at Deepdale and he would be more concerned if there was no interest.

“I think there is more interest now in our players than there has ever been,” said Neil.

“There were very few occasions in the season when we were completed dominated by the other team.

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“The way we play in games gives our best players the platform to showcase their talents.

“Their market value has risen considerably I would think.

“The time when you want to start worrying is when no clubs are linked with your players, it means that they aren’t good enough.”

North End’s buying model which focuses primarily on bringing in younger players and developing them within the first-team environment will inevitably see other clubs keeping an eye on them.

Jordan Hugill was bought for £25,000 in 2014 from Port Vale and sold for £9.5m to West Ham in January but in the main the better players have been kept at Deepdale.

The speculation which has done the rounds in the early part of the close season has centred on Ben Pearson.

A £10m price tag has twice been mentioned in reports in the national media, relegated Stoke being linked with the midfielder at the weekend.

That is way below North End’s valuation and there is no desire at Deepdale to let Pearson leave.

They rate him highly and he is contracted until the summer of 2021.

Others in the squad currently contracted until 2021 are Josh Harrop, Ben Davies, Darnell Fisher, Louis Moult and recent arrival Ryan Ledson.

There are other players who PNE will be looking to get on similar length deals this summer – Irish trio Alan Browne, Greg Cunningham and Sean Maguire among them.

Talks are also due to be held with skipper Tom Clarke, Daniel Johnson, Daryl Horgan and Paul Huntington.

North End gave new deals over the course of last season to Tom Barkhuizen, Josh Earl, Callum Robinson, Pearson, Browne and Davies.

It is an ongoing process, the club keen to have the bulk of the squad under contract for two years or more as they plan for the longer term.