The Sun claims Newcastle are interested in a move for Preston North End centre-back Ben Davies, as Steve Bruce aims to put his own stamp on the squad for next season.

The report claims Bruce “was a huge admirer” of Davies while he was managing in the Championship, and would be keen to make a move now he has the funds to do so.

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But that is a worry in itself, as a player deemed Championship level does not make him Premier League quality. Bruce needs to remember he is no longer at a Hull City or Sheffield Wednesday.

He will get the chance to see Davies in action personally on Saturday, with the hastily arranged friendly at Deepdale providing him the perfect opportunity.

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Whether or not Bruce had some say in picking that opponent with the player in mind is not known, but it would not be a surprise.

As we wrote on Monday, centre-back is one of the few areas of the pitch where we are well off for depth, and a move for anyone in that position seems strange.

 

Who is Ben Davies?

Having been at Preston since under-18 level, he had no fewer that five separate loan spells away from the club, before establishing himself in their first team squad in 2017.

He made 34 League One appearances in that season, scoring once. Last season he started 39 of 40 league games, again scoring just once.

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But possibly his most impressive stat is having received only 13 yellow cards in total, throughout both seasons, which is excellent for a defender.

As much as Bruce may like the player, it would be a massive risk to buy him, and there would be a huge question mark over whether he could make the grade in the Premier League.

Whatever budget Bruce has, it would be better spent elsewhere, with other positions far more of a priority.

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