Graham Cummins: I played with Ben Davies but never imagined he'd end up at Liverpool

Celtic would have been a better bet for the 25-year-old to regularly feature with a top club
Graham Cummins: I played with Ben Davies but never imagined he'd end up at Liverpool

Preston North End's Ben Davies applauds the fans after the final whistle.

BEN DAVIES’ transfer from Preston North End to Liverpool made me question if I'd rather be a fringe player at Liverpool or be a regular starter at Celtic?

Davies is a former teammate of mine and had you asked me at the time did I see him as a player that would one day be signing for the champions of England and one of the best teams in the world?

I wouldn’t have seen it happening.

However, Davies was very young when I was at Preston and from reading reports and seeing him in matches since I left the club, Davies is not the same player and has certainly improved.

The chance to sign for Liverpool is a once in a lifetime opportunity and in most situations I would say any player would be stupid to turn it down but when Celtic are offering you a contract as well and with more possibility of playing games regularly, it must have been a hard option for Davies and a choice I wouldn’t have gone with myself.

Reading's Sone Aluko and Preston North End's Ben Davies battle for the ball.
Reading's Sone Aluko and Preston North End's Ben Davies battle for the ball.

Both clubs are rich with history, are two huge clubs with a massive following, although I would say Liverpool are the bigger club, and both clubs have the attraction of providing a player with a realistic chance of winning silverware.

The two major advantages Liverpool have of attracting players to their club over Celtic are finance and playing in the Premier League.

I tried putting myself in Davies' shoes. He’s 25-year-old, who still has many years ahead of him to improve and might think he is good enough for Liverpool. But in the back of his mind, he has to be realistic and know that Liverpool are signing him because they are stuck for options.

Davies was also a relatively cheap signing compared to other players they could have recruited.

SHORT-TERM OPTION

Davies isn’t a long-term plan for Liverpool, I would be surprised if he is still at the club in 18 months knowing that by then Liverpool will have Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomes fit. At Celtic, the Hoops would have seen the player as one that could be part of their team for many years to come.

Being Irish, I always had some sort of affiliation for Celtic but that might not be the case for an English player.

Playing for Celtic is the pinnacle for some Irish footballers but for English players, they want to play for Liverpool or Manchester United.

Now, is playing a handful of games for Liverpool something to be prouder of when you retire than spending years playing for Celtic? 

Players always say they want to just play games but that is a lie, otherwise, Davies would have signed for Celtic.

The main factor in Davies’ decision to join Liverpool will be the finances. I’m sure, he would have been offered an attractive signing-on-fee for Celtic, considering he was out of contract, but in terms of salary, the Hoops will have offered a lot less than what Liverpool have given the 25-year-old.

You can’t blame someone for wanting to earn as much money as they can throughout their career.

Celtic might not be seen as attractive a club as it was only a few months ago. The Hoops are a sinking ship at the moment and are looking over their shoulder at Aberdeen and Hibernian rather than up at Rangers.

There is no certainty who would have been Celtic’s manager had Davies joined the Hoops in the summer, which could have been another major factor for Davies, because as a player when you are signing for a club, you want to know the manager who is signing you and you know rates you, will be at the club for the foreseeable future.

Another angle Davies could be looking when he decided to sign for Liverpool is that while he might have to leave somewhere down the line because he has played with Liverpool, he will still move to a top club. And Celtic will probably still be interested in him.

It’s much easier signing for Liverpool and ‘downgrading’ to Celtic than it is signing for the Hoops and trying to seal a move to the Reds.

It’s hard to turn down Liverpool but if I were in Davies' situation, I would have joined the Hoops.

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