Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted it is “a blow” Liverpool “gazumped” their proposed deal to sign Preston defender Ben Davies.
The reigning Scottish Premiership champions had agreed to sign Davies on a pre-contract agreement at the end of the current season earlier in the winter window.
But on the eve of Monday’s deadline Liverpool agreed a £1.6m fee with Championship side Preston for the 25-year-old centre-back.
“It’s a blow because we were very close to doing that but obviously we got gazumped at the last minute by Liverpool,” said Lennon on Monday.
“He lives in that area and obviously I am sure financially it would be quite rewarding for him so I am disappointed but we move on.”
‘Kenny a player I’ve liked for a while’
Lennon confirmed the club are close to signing Jonjoe Kenny on loan for the rest of the season from Everton, with the 23-year-old right-back a peripheral figure at Goodison Park under Carlo Ancelotti.
Kenny, who spent last season on loan at Bundesliga side Schalke, is expected to provide competition following the exit of Jeremie Frimpong, who signed for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen last week.
“He is a player I have liked for a while,” Lennon said of Kenny, who has made eight first-team appearances this season.
“He had a very good career at England youth and U21 level.
“I watched quite a bit of him last season while he was on loan at Schalke. He was playing in a struggling team, but I quite liked his qualities; his enthusiasm for the game and his character.
“I think he will bring that to the team. He has come to try and make us better.”
Ntcham nears Celtic exit
Lennon also revealed midfielder Olivier Ntcham could leave Parkhead before the deadline, with the club in discussions with Ligue 1 club Marseille over a move.
Newcastle were reported to have been interested in the 24-year-old Frenchman, who is entering the final 18 months of his contract.
Ntcham, who joined Celtic from Manchester City in July 2017, has made seven league starts this season and was denied a move to Brest in October.
“I think he is looking for a fresh start to progress his career elsewhere and he has made that clear over a period of time,” Lennon said.
Celtic are 23 points behind league leaders Rangers in the Scottish Premiership and visit Kilmarnock on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports.
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