Another report emerging today is that Preston North End are keeping tabs on Keinan Davis from Aston Villa with a view to bringing him to Deepdale on loan this summer.
The rumour comes from journalist Alan Nixon – so isn’t a 100% credible source by any means – but it’s an intriguing potential move for us to make.
The fact we’re being linked with yet another striker is no surprise – it’s evident that PNE need to be looking at bringing another forward to the club, after a season in which our four main attackers only scored 11 goals between them in a combined total of 106 games last season in all competitions. Our top scorer of all four strikers was Seani Maguire with five.
Davis though would be an interesting move. He has Premier League experience under his belt – although he failed to score in the top tier, he did feature 18 times for Aston Villa last season – and at 22-years old has room to improve as a player with more regular first-team action and become a good player. In fact, his season’s worth of Premier League experience could result in him playing even better when he drops back down a level to the Championship.
Experienced in the Championship as well as the Premier League
Davis does have experience in this league too though, having featured in 39 Championship games for Villa and providing six goal contributions. He also had a run out for Villa during the Play-Offs (albeit only a six minute one!) and has also regularly contributed with goals and assists to the club’s Under-23 side.
Having also featured for the England Under-20 side, he has a wealth of experience under his belt that he could bring to North End.
We have prior experience of helping younger, Premier League players to establish themselves and evolve. From Aston Villa alone, we managed to make Callum Robinson, arguably, a Premier League-calibre player. After starting out with us on a loan move, he helped us to promotion to the Championship and then became one of our most important players before his sale to Sheffield United.
Davis then would fit a similar mould. Out of his teens but still young, with plenty of room to become an even better player and get some regular first-team action under his belt to help him reach his full potential.
Davis fits the role of targetman for Alex Neil
He could also fit the mould of the kind of striker Alex Neil wants to lead the line. He is most useful as a centre-forward and with his size (he is about 6 foot 2) and what he can offer in the air (he averaged 4.1 aerials per game, winning an average of 1.5 in his Premier League games last season, despite mainly featuring as a substitute) he does fit the bill.
Perhaps the only issue is his current lack of goalscoring. Four goals in 67 games is not the greatest return in his Villa career but consider the fact a lot of his games have been off the bench and that has worked against him. If he can add a goalscoring element to his game, then he would be an ideal signing for North End – it’s just whether he can find that finishing touch with a loan move to Deepdale.
Either way, he could prove to be a risk worth taking because of his ‘targetman’ element. It’s just whether Villa will be willing to part with the 22-year old during the current off-season.