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Goodbye McCann: Preston Sign Saints Midfielder

Last night whilst many of us where in our beds, St. Johnstone sold midfielder Ali McCann to Preston North End for a fee of £1.2m.

[McCann has joined Championship side Preston North End]

McCann was one of St. Johnstone's best players and is a Northern Ireland international. He has consistently been one of our best players since 2019 and the 21 year old had standout performances in Europe against Galatasaray and LASK.

Ali came through the Saints youth academy and was a fan favourite in Perth. Most supporters valued him extremely highly and could certainly see him departing some day to go onward and upwards in his career - with hopefully a big fee in it for Saints as well.

[McCann has been out of this world for St. Johnstone]

So, when Saints had held onto him until deadline we were all thrilled, especially since it was reported that bids had been turned down and there was no rumours of a replacement so it seemed as if we were going to hold onto the star man.

But then, news broke last night that Ali McCann had gone to Preston North End with the fee being just £1.2m, although there are some future incentives such as add-ons and a sell on clause also included which could take it past the £2m mark somewhere down the mark.

This is a large chunk of change but it is way below most people (including the chairman's) estimation of the midfielder. It was said last week that we wouldn't budge for any less than £3m.

[Ali McCann is a Northern Ireland international]

Here is what Steve Brown himself said regarding selling Ali McCann earlier in the summer:

"If Ali is going to go, it will be north of that figure," [That figure being club record fee £1.75m for Callum Davidson to Blackburn]

"There's been interest - Ali in particular, a Northern Ireland international. If the right offer comes along and a player wants to leave, which is another thing you have to take into consideration, then we will sell, but it will be at a price we are happy with."

[Steve Brown in the stands vs LASK]

Here is what the club chairman said last night regarding the sale of McCann:

"We tried very hard to resist all of the bids for Ali."

"But Preston's offer is a huge sum and one we couldn't turn down. In time, it is likely to become the club's record transfer fee received."

"In all situations, we also have to take the wishes of the player into account and Ali told us he wanted to play in England."

"Reluctantly, we have allowed Ali to move to Preston and we wish him all the very best as he has been a great player for the Football Club and a first-class individual."

It's safe to say the sale of McCann coupled with Kerr's departure has put a massive dampener on what has been an excellent 8 months or so for Saints. The way they have handled this transfer window has been nothing short of shambolic and will have upset quite a few fans.

Just judging off of social media deadline day has caused a lot of unrest in the fanbase and hopefully saints can put that to bed. Maybe even make a permanent signing or two.

However, none of this is Ali McCann's fault and I have to say he is one of the best players I have ever seen at McDiarmid Park and he deserves to move on. Good luck Ali in the rest of your career. Preston have got a fine player - he's better than Zidane!

[McCann celebrates his penalty shootout winner at Ibrox]

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