Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe has downplayed recent talks of a potential loan move for Manchester United starlet Zidane Iqbal.
After recent reports emerged of Iqbal seeking a loan move, Preston were rumoured to be one of the front-runners due to Iqbal’s time at the Lancashire club last season on work-experience.
An initiative brought in by Justin Cochrane, now with Brentford having served as the head of player development and coaching with United’s academy, saw United’s young academy players spend a week or two training at football league clubs to experience the rigours of lower league senior football.
One of these included Iqbal spending a week with Preston last season, along with another unnamed United player, where they impressed the manager Lowe, who had said to the Lancashire Post “they joined us last year for a week and they were excellent, the pair of them.”
The Preston manager continued, “But there is no interest in us taking Zidane on loan, unless I’m told different from Man United and they say he wants to come, then it might be a different conversation. I haven’t been told that.”
Interestingly, rather than disputing interest in the midfielder, Lowe suggests that any lack of a move is due to United making Iqbal unavailable rather than Preston deciding against taking the 19-year-old.
In fact, Lowe didn’t rule it out entirely as he said, “He’s definitely not been on our radar in terms of us not needing that position but you never know, do you? He’s a quality player.”
Lowe, a product of Liverpool’s academy during his playing career, also hinted that a move may be more likely next season saying, “Maybe the Championship is a bit too soon for him, maybe it’s the Championship next season but I just don’t know.
“As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t know he was talked about with us and I didn’t know he was available on loan.”
“I’d like to think most kids and good players around the country that are available on loan we know about.”
Current loan players at Preston include United’s own Alvaro Fernandez. Last season’s U-21s player of the year, Fernandez has been enjoying a good spell under Lowe, notching up 23 appearances already and contributing four assists.
Despite regularly appearing on the bench, Iqbal has yet to appear under Erik ten Hag, with Kobbie Mainoo seemingly passing him in the pecking order to earn a debut against Charlton Athletic in the EFL Cup.
As a result, Iqbal’s availability may yet change in the next two weeks and he could head out on loan rather than spending the rest of the season with the u21s.