Preston North End have registered interest in Crewe Alexandra defender Connor O’Riordan but are not expected to sign the player before the January transfer window draws to a close, according to reports.
It was reported by the Lancashire Telegraph that Preston were one of three clubs keen to sign the 20-year-old central defender, alongside League One outfit Blackpool and Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers.
However, the Lancashire Telegraph also revealed that Blackburn were set to come out on top for the Irish centre-back’s signature as Rovers had activated the player’s £500,000 release clause, with head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson looking to bolster his defensive department before the window draws to a close.
Nevertheless, the move has since stalled as Blackburn Rovers want to pay the fee in instalments due to an issue with the owner’s funding of the transfer from India, meaning the transfer saga is still ongoing.
As a result of O’Riordan remaining with Crewe for the time being, both Blackpool and Preston North End still have a chance to complete a deal by activating the Republic of Ireland U21 international’s buyout clause.
What a day Ireland u21 defender Connor O’Riordan had for himself yesterday, 2 goals including a 92nd minute winner !🇮🇪
His winner 👇🏼, great scenes 💚 pic.twitter.com/rK1z9oRYdj
— Rep of Ireland Player Tracker (@reptracker) November 26, 2023
Regardless, a new report from The Lancashire Post has revealed that a move to Deepdale is completely off the table due to Preston’s Financial Fair Play issues. The outlet have stated that, to sign O’Riordan, the Lilywhites would need to sell somebody first.
Furthermore, Preston want to structure the deal similarly to their bitter rivals but the League Two club are only willing to accept an upfront payment for the player’s services.
While Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers are stalling over the signing of O’Riordan, it gives other teams in League One or the Championship the chance to swoop in and sign the centre-back by paying the £500,000 fee upfront.
It’s understandable that Crewe are not willing to accept a fee in instalments as the side are pushing for a return to England’s third tier and half a million could potentially allow them to sign several players before the transfer window closes to boost their promotion bid.