Why Wolves should try to win the race for Ben Davies
Davies, who has played every minute of Preston’s campaign in the Championship this term so far, has enhanced his stocks with a string of consistent displays at the heart of the backline alongside Patrick Bauer.
Alex Neil’s side have emerged as one of the early favourites in the race for the playoffs after a bright start to the ongoing campaign, with Preston North End currently sitting 3rd in the standings with 21 points from their first eleven fixtures, just a point behind pace-setters West Brom.
Preston took their goal tally for the season up to 23 with a 5-1 rout of Barnsley this week and while the attackers and the midfielders definitely deserve a lot of credit for the club’s promising start to the season, the defenders have also done their bit.
Ben Davies, in particular, has been one of the standout performers for Alex Neil’s side at the back. The 6ft 1in centre-back has established himself as one of the mainstays of the backline at Deepdale over the past three seasons and interest from the Premier League clubs is indicative of his rapid progress in the Championship.
The Deepdale academy graduate made his first-team breakthrough as a teenager back in the 2012-13 season when Preston were in League One but he had to go through loan spells at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport County and Fleetwood Town in the lower divisions before nailing down a regular starting role at his boyhood club since the start of the 2017-18 campaign.
Davies hasn’t looked back since then and has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, carving out a reputation for himself as an elegant ball-playing centre-back in the second-tier of English football.
To put things into perspective, Davies is about to enter his prime years as a centre-back within the next couple of seasons and Wolves would bag a massive coup if they manage to beat off competition from their rivals in the race to sign the 24-year-old.
Wolves have successfully turned around a shaky start to their campaign with three consecutive victories over Watford, Besiktas and most recently, Man City, who went down to Nuno Espirito Santo’s side on their own backyard in the Premier League this week, thanks to a brace from Adama Traore.
The fans at Molineux should be absolutely over the moon after a humbling of the reigning champions on Sunday but Nuno Santo will be aware of the need to freshen up things when the transfer window reopens in January.
Willy Boly has been their most reliable presence at the back but Conor Coady and Ryan Bennett, who were amongst the standout performers last campaign, haven’t been at their sparkling best this term.
Jesus Vallejo was brought in on loan from Real Madrid in the summer in a bid to freshen up things at the back with some young blood but the Spaniard hasn’t really made a big impact so far, while Romain Saiss looks like a better option in central midfield than at the back.
To that end, the acquisition of Ben Davies would be a welcome move for Wolves moving forward given that the 24-year-old has the talent and the potential to make the grade in the Premier League.
Calm and composed in possession and adept at winning aerial balls all day, the technically-gifted centre-back has the attributes to fit perfectly into Nuno Santo’s system and he might as well prove to be an upgrade on someone like Ryan Bennett in the long run if he goes on to fulfil his promise.
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As per whoscored, Davies averages 3.6 aerial duels, 3.9 clearances and 4.6 successful long balls per game in the Championship this season, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded game as a centre-back.
Having said that, Wolves should try to make use of their financial resources and outbid their rivals in order to have the final say in the race for the 24-year-old Championship star.