Whelan Exclusive: This is what may sway blockbuster Celtic signing as talks begin

Noel Whelan claims Preston North End’s Ben Davies has a “big decision” to make as Celtic and Bournemouth battle it out for the defender’s signature this week.

The former Aberdeen and Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, fears the uncertainty surrounding Neil Lennon’s position at Parkhead could work against the Scottish champions.

Football Insider revealed today that the Hoops are hopeful of concluding a deal for Davies, 25, with both a pre-contract agreement and immediate permanent transfer on the cards after talks began.

However, the centre-half, who rejected a £17,000-a-week contract offer to stay at Deepdale, is also of interest to Bournemouth.

Davies has been one of the Championship’s best defenders in recent seasons and has made 18 appearances for Preston this term.

When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of the centre-back’s future, Whelan said: “You kind of think Celtic should have the draw over a club like Bournemouth.

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“They are a big, big club who will be in Europe next season but then again, look at how things have gone this season.

“Is Neil Lennon going to be there next year? That is the biggest issue. There are a lot of question marks at Celtic right now regarding their main players and their backroom staff. Who knows what is going to happen because there is a lot of ironing out to do.

“That could sway Davies to go to a more settled club like Bournemouth, who are pushing to get back into the Premier League – the league where everyone wants to be.

“It is a big decision for Davies and not an easy one.”  

In other news, Celtic have been told to sign a winger who is “better than Scott Sinclair” and available for a “bargain” fee this month.