Sheffield United are considering a loan to buy offer for Preston North End defender Ben Davies, reports Yorkshire Live.
Preston are asking for £10m for Davies, which is a price too high for the Blades’ budget.
It’s as their search for a replacement for Jack O’Connell continues. O’Connell is expected to miss most of the season after having a knee operation.
Manager Chris Wilder is keen to bring a centre-back in from the Championship to cover for the 26-year-old’s absence. The deadline for Premier League clubs to sign players from EFL sides is 5pm on October 16.
Davies is one of two options now being considered by United. They have decided against a deal for Terence Kongolo, because of issues that arose in medical tests as part of the negotiations for the Huddersfield Town man.
It showed that Kongolo has not fully recovered from a foot injury suffered while on loan at Fulham last term.
It leaves Davies as a possibility, along with Bournemouth’s Diego Rico.
Yet with Preston wanting so much for the former, the Blades might offer to loan the 25-year-old for 2020/21, before signing him permanently next summer.
Who is Ben Davies?
Davies is an academy product at Deepdale and had several spells on loan in the lower leagues before breaking into the Lilywhites’ first team. To date he has played 130 times for the Lancashire club.
Davies is also a left-sided central defender who has played as part of a back three already this campaign.
He is therefore a like-for-like replacement for O’Connell in Wilder’s wing-back system.
Jack Robinson has been playing in the position so far this season, with United having lost all four of their league matches.
January signing Robinson is a solid option, but lacks the same impetus in attack as O’Connell.
Wilder likes his flanking centre-backs to break forwards when in possession as part of unique overlapping tactics.
The hope would be that Davies could provide a little more in this role than Robinson has so far.