Preston North End are set for a major blow after it was revealed that captain Alan Browne is in talks with Serie A strugglers Salernitana, according to journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
The 28-year-old is out of contract at Deepdale at the end of the season, although has been offered fresh terms. The Republic of Ireland international had previously stated that he would be happy to extend his stay at the club, although an agreement has not yet been reached.
The versatile midfielder has been an ever-present at the Lilywhites since breaking into the team in 2014 and recently notched up his 400th appearance for the club. In doing so, he became just the 13th player in Preston’s history to achieve such a feat.
Despite that, his 10-year stay at the club could be about to come to an end following interest from Serie A. According to Di Marzio, Salernitana are eyeing up a deal for the playmaker as they look to remain in the Italian top flight.
It is said that negotiations are underway as they look to add experience to the side. I Granata are currently rooted to the foot of the table and are six points from safety having lost their last four fixtures.
The second-youngest player to reach 400 appearances for PNE.
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) January 28, 2024
There is no mention of any fee involved, although any deal would have to be completed before 6pm tomorrow evening, with the transfer window in Italy closing five hours before the UK’s.
Speaking at the end of last year, Browne confirmed that fresh terms had been offered, although he remained coy on the situation:
“Yeah, I’m quite relaxed (about the contract scenario),” the midfielder told the Lancashire Post. “The club have offered me a new contract but I haven’t signed, so that’s it.”
After an excellent start to the season which saw them top the table, recent form has taken a hit and they have slipped to 12th. Last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Millwall means they are now five points behind Coventry City in the final play-off place. They face a tough clash this weekend when they take on automatic promotion-chasers Ipswich Town at Deepdale.
The lure of Italy is an attractive one, although it is a move that doesn’t make a great deal of sense for Alan Browne. He is at a club where he is considered a modern-day legend who harbour ambitions of playing in the Premier League.
Salernitana are a team likely to suffer relegation this season and it would mean a drop to the less competitive Serie B. If he does fancy trying his hand elsewhere, there are sure to be plenty of options for him in the summer, some of which may represent a step up. It’s an intriguing story, but one that doesn’t seem the right fit for the talented midfielder.