By Wayne Veysey

27th Nov, 2020 | 8:00am

Exclusive: Huge update in Celtic, West Ham & Sheffield Utd race to sign Ben Davies

Celtic, West Ham, Sheffield United and company are facing an uphill battle to prise Ben Davies from Preston North End in January, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

The Scottish giants and Premier League big guns are all keeping tabs on the 25-year-old contract rebel ahead of the winter window.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Preston are “unlikely” to cash in on Davies in January even if he refuses to commit to a new contract.

It is understood the Championship club have verbally offered the centre-back a new and improved long-term deal.

But Davies is keeping his options open at this stage.

However, that does not mean he will move in January, as Preston still value Davies at the £10m price they were seeking in the summer.

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That could be enough to deter his suitors including Celtic, who have been eyeing the centre-back as a potential winter window signing to replace Kristoffer Ajer, as first revealed by this site in August.

Celtic are keeping close tabs on Davies over the coming months.

There was also interest from Premier League duo West Ham and Sheffield United ahead of the early-October deadline, while a £5million bid from Bournemouth was also rejected.

Alex Neil’s side are vulnerable to losing the proven performer as he is out of contract next summer.

Davies started the opening five of Preston’s league matches this season, before suffering a hamstring injury that has ruled him out since 18 October.

He has now played 131 times for his boyhood club and has also had loan spells at York City, Newport County, Fleetwood Town, Tranmere Rovers and Southport.

In other news, it can be revealed a £90million-plus Celtic fire sale is on the cards in January window.