Celtic have set their sights on signing Preston North End defender Ben Davies as a potential Kristoffer Ajer replacement, Football Insider understands.

Doubts are growing over the future of the giant Norwegian, who is believed to be one of the wantaway senior stars Neil Lennon was referring to in the wake of the midweek Champions League exit.

A Celtic source has told Football Insider that the club have turned their attention to Davies, 25, after his impressive 2019-20 Championship campaign.

 

The English centre-back has entered the final year of his contract and could be available this window.

He is on the radar of recruitment chief Nicky Hammond and his team amid Celtic fears over the future of Ajer.

The Norway international, 22, has been targeted by Premier League and top Italian clubs this year and has rejected a number of attempts from the Glasgow giants to extend his contract expiring in 2022.

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He has been a mainstay of the Celtic central defence in recent seasons but was surprisingly left on the bench against Dundee United and KR Reykjavík last week.

Davies was a key man for Preston last season as they punched above their weight to narrowly miss out on a play-off spot.

He made 36 Championship starts at centre-back and has accumulated 126 appearances for his boyhood club.

Davies, the namesake of the Tottenham and Wales star who plays mainly at left-back, has also gained major playing experience from loans at Fleetwood Town, York City, Newport County, Tranmere Rovers and Southport.

In other Celtic news, a top club has responded to a big-money Hoops offer for defender ‘desperate’ to move to Parkhead.