Preston North End have signed Liam Lindsay and Sepp van den Berg on loan as replacements for Ben Davies, whose move to Liverpool has been confirmed.
Centre-back Davies, 25, has signed what the Premier League champions have called a “long-term contract” to cover their defensive squad issues this season.
In exchange, Preston have received Dutchman van den Berg, 19, on loan from the Anfield club for the rest of the campaign.
The Lilywhites also moved quickly in raiding Championship rivals Stoke City to take fellow defender Lindsay on loan for the remainder of the season.
Davies has been the source of speculation throughout the January transfer window but Liverpool’s shock interest late in the day saw them blow the competition out of the water.
It marks the end of his 14 years at the Deepdale club, where he came through the youth ranks and went on to play 145 times.
Manager Alex Neil told Preston’s official club website: “It was an opportunity that he certainly couldn’t knock back and we certainly couldn’t stand in his way.
“We’ve said that all along about our young players, if an opportunity comes up for them to go to the Premier League, and certainly a team like Liverpool, I think it’s an incredible opportunity for Ben.
“To be honest he deserves it, he’s worked extremely hard on his game and he’s been a terrific servant for us.
“He came through the youth academy here as well, so to produce one of our own and for them to go on to a team like Liverpool, it’s an incredible achievement for the club and for Ben himself.”
Davies told the Liverpool club website of the move: “It’s a huge opportunity. Obviously it came as a bit of a surprise when it first came but once you start to get your head around it, the opportunity that is in front of me is incredible.”
Liverpool offered the services of van den Berg, who joined the club from PEC Zwolle in 2019 and has made four appearances in cup competitions so far for the Reds, in return.
The 19-year-old told Preston’s website: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m happy I’m here. I’m happy hopefully I can play a lot of games, I hopefully can achieve something good this season so I’m really looking forward to the season.”
The Lilywhites have also secured Lindsay on a loan deal until the end of the campaign.
The Scottish defender joined the Potters in 2019 from Barnsley, who he helped earn promotion out of League One, but the move has not gone entirely to plan and he has not played a single minute of football this season under Michael O’Neill.
Lindsay, 25, told the North End website: “It’s been pretty quick and I’m just happy to have it done and dusted and I’m looking forward to it.”
Neil explained why he took an interest in Lindsay after Liverpool made their play for Davies in the final days of the transfer window.
“It is good to get this bit of business done,” he said. “The Ben Davies interest came out of the blue so it’s not something we expected, but we have obviously been keeping an eye on left-sided centre-backs in case that did happen.
“Liam is a guy who has played at the level, he’s been at Stoke, he’s been at Barnsley, he’s a good age, he’s left-sided and left footed and I think it makes sense to bring someone in who can hopefully do well between now and the end of the season.”