Celtic manager Neil Lennon has told his press conference ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Kilmarnock that Liverpool “gazumped” the Scottish champions for Preston centre-back Ben Davies – because of wages, and where the defender lives.
Davies, 25, was strongly linked with a move to Celtic and reports even claimed that a pre-contract had been agreed – with the Hoops looking to agree a fee for Davies in January. But Liverpool have moved late on, with a £2million deal now expected.
The left-footed centre-back is out of contract at Preston in the summer but a medical is underway and a deal should be completed by Monday’s 11pm deadline. He is potentially one of two Liverpool signings on Monday, with Ozan Kabak, too.
Lennon spoke of Celtic’s pursuit of Davies and being pipped at the post by Liverpool in the race for Davies’ signature – stating that Davies living closer to Liverpool and the financial reward of joining the Premier League side saw the Reds win the race.
“It’s a blow because obviously we were close to doing that,” Lennon said, as per the Sky Sports Transfer Centre (Monday, 14:28PM). “We were gazumped at the last minute by Liverpool. He lives in that area, and I’m sure financially it will be quite rewarding for him too. Disappointed, but we move on.”
TBR’s view – Davies would have been ideal for Celtic
The Hoops need a centre-back. Celtic are without a central defender after Christopher Jullien was ruled out for the majority of the second half of the campaign. On-loan Shane Duffy has struggled, while Kris Ajer is being linked wit an exit.
Bringing in Davies would have given Celtic a left-footed defender – something they do not boast at centre-back, but also one with a bit of pace that is needed following the loss of Jullien. Instead, they will have to pursue other targets.